|WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN LATIN AMERICA, CARIBBEAN OPPORTUNITY DRIVEN|
Aruba, March 21, 2014 - United States (CMC) – A new study analysing the characteristics and challenges facing women entrepreneurs in Jamaica and eight Latin American countries has found that they are opportunity driven rather than necessity driven.
The study also found that these women mention economic independence, passion and creating jobs as their main reasons for launching their business ventures.
The new study titled ‘WEGrow: Unlocking the Growth potential of Women Entrepreneurs in Latin America and the Caribbean’ was commissioned by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF), a member of the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) Group and produced by Ernst & Young.
It analyses high-growth women entrepreneurs in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, whose businesses have experienced growth rates of more than 20 per cent for at least three years and compares them to those of their male counterparts, as well as those who reach lower growth rates.
It is based on interviews with over 400 entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystems in the nine countries.
According to the study, 85 per cent of high-growth women entrepreneurs have the ambition to keep growing their business.
The IDB said that these high-growth businesses belong to traditional or non-mature sectors such as food and beverages and services, which tend to have lower rates of potential growth than sectors like software and Internet, which are preferred by high-growth men entrepreneurs.
“These women can be an important source of growth because they create jobs, promote innovation and reduce the gender gap,” said Nancy Lee, MIF general manager.
“But until now, there has been very little research on who they are and how they see their successes and challenges. We believe that this study will be very valuable in helping them grow their businesses, which will not only benefit women entrepreneurs themselves and their families, but will also have significant economic impact,” she said.
According to the study, several barriers related to the sex of women entrepreneurs lessen or disappear as their business grow.
“Although many women mentioned that they had more difficulties than men when they started, 88 per cent of high-growth women entrepreneurs stated that being a woman was not an obstacle to growing a business,” the IDB said.
It noted that women entrepreneurs initially imagine their businesses to be more restricted in reach. However, once the business grows their ambitions match those of male entrepreneurs.
Only 40 per cent of women’s businesses have international reach, while 71 per cent of men’s businesses cross borders.
“Although these results are very positive in terms of the advancement of women in the entrepreneurial world, there are still challenges,” said Susana García-Robles, MIG Principal Investment Officer.
“Their networks aren´t as extensive and diversified as those of men, since they tend to partner with friends and family. As a result, women entrepreneurs have difficulties in accessing finance, especially from angel networks and seed and venture capital funds,” she said.