Growth in Networks, Role Models, Resources to Contribute to Increased Opportunities For Women Entrepreneurs
Another year has flown by yet we are so excited not only by the growth in 2017 but also by the opportunities and trends we expect to see in 2018 for female entrepreneurs.
Looking back, 2017 was a great year for female founders both globally and in Asia. The growth of a variety of organisations looking at supporting female entrepreneurs suggests a broad recognition of the growing opportunity and increased awareness of the need for change.
New platforms and funding resources sprung up, and established organizations strengthened their community, their reach and their brand. We saw increased funding support not only from our crowdfunding platform, Next Chapter, but also the growth of groups of investors that invest in women-led, high growth ventures plus increased venture capital for women.
Networks are strengthening across Asia including Women’s Entrepreneur Network, The Women’s Foundation, Golden Bauhinia Association, Business Chicks and The Crib. We have also seen continued growth of LeanIn communities and other resources facilitate and encourage change in the workplace. Interestingly, there has been some growth in female-focused co-working spaces (Trehaus, OneRoof) and there are more popping up in Tokyo and other cities across Asia.
More and more events are including women-only streams, discounts or focus areas to improve access and attendance. And, pitch competitions, like Pitch Like A Girl at RISE, Her Startup, and She Loves Tech, are becoming popular in an effort to raise awareness and provide more opportunities for women to promote their business and gain access to investors and funding.
One of our favourite developments has been the growth of role models for female entrepreneurs. From our own alumni community, Jennifer Chin from Whizpa has gone on to join the New Media Group incubator and Quin Thong from AnaByKarma has gone on to win the FedEx Small Business Grant content and DBS NUS Social Venture Challenge. Their continued successes show us the opportunities we can all look towards.
So what do we see for 2018? Well, definitely a continued trend in the growth of female entrepreneurship which excites us!
Increased Examples of Role Models
We expect to see more ‘everyday role models’ for women entrepreneurs to emulate. A lack of role models and mentors is often cited as a barrier to women starting businesses or achieving senior roles in the workplace. A recent NY Times article sums up some of these ideas and points to the phenomenon known as homophily, or love of the same, to explain why fewer women start businesses. If they don’t see anyone like themselves doing it then it shapes the view of what is possible. Furthermore, people with experience and money (generally white males) tend to mentor people like themselves.
Increased Funding For Women-led Businesses
Linked to the growth of more role models, women are increasingly being seen as strong capable entrepreneurs able to launch high growth oriented businesses - male and female investors are taking note. Not only are investment firms waking up to the bias in access to funding, but women are leading organisations to support funding. Plus we expect to see continued growth of crowdfunding in Asia as a great way for female founders to build their business. All of this will start making it easier for female founders to obtain the capital they need to grow their business. Check out Andrea Loubier from startup Mailbird who shares her views about female entrepreneurs and also millennial trends in 2018.
Increased Resources for Female Founders
Expect to see a trend in more training and learning opportunities developed for female entrepreneurs. There will be the continued trend of communities forming for women to connect both online and offline to make deeper ties and grow their businesses. Having a supportive network to share wins and experience will help deal with the ongoing anxiety of being an entrepreneur and improve the landscape across the board (insider tip - look out for more from Next Chapter on communities in March!)
Plus for those in Hong Kong, keep an eye out for the BLOOM pitch night on Jan 24 with all female judges (http://www.bloom.work/pitch/) and the Global Startup Weekend for Women in Tech from February 9-11.
We are excited about 2018 and look forward to working with female entrepreneurs across Asia to get greater access to funding and also build their business via a collaborative community.
If you are looking to find a community to support your business growth and funding opportunities then reach out to us at [email protected] for our monthly “The Studio” breakfast series, crowdfunding support, investor connections and training opportunities via our First Time Founders School.