The Increasing Relevance of Female Entrepreneurs

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The Increasing Relevance of Female Entrepreneurs

Women make up nearly half the world’s population, and yet only a little more than one-third of Australian businesses are owned by women. That might seem low, unless you compare that percentage to those of most other countries, where less than 30% of small businesses are being led (not necessarily owned) by women.

I could go into lots of data that attempts to explain Why that is. However, I think the bigger issue is How:

How you can build upon and leverage the momentum that is being experienced in Australia right now, where in only two decades, female business ownership has increased by 46%.

The Rise of Female-Led Businesses and Entrepreneurs

In her 2018 article in Financial Review, Georgina Dent cites a need for the commercial representation of women’s problems, and the willingness of Australia’s female entrepreneurship to step up and augment markets that have been traditionally underserved by men.

This makes a lot of sense. Just think about the number of problems that any given woman solves on any given day. And in most instances, these problems are not unique to her situation. Other mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, employees and business owners are experiencing these same female-centric problems…and they’re not being talked about in commercial markets that are largely represented by men.

Traditionally, groups of women have been forced to share and solve problems while sequestered from commercial markets—at luncheons, teas, their children’s play dates…without the marketplace attention that male and gender-neutral problems traditionally benefit from. Or worse, they have felt entirely alone, thinking no one else shared their struggle.

But the tide is shifting.

Some pioneer female entrepreneurs have discovered that when they shed commercial light on female-specific problems, the results are not only transformative for everyone involved, they can be surprisingly lucrative.

One example that Dent uses in her article, The Rise of Female-Led Businesses, is Jodie Fox, founder of Shoes of Prey. Jodie illuminated a common problem that women experience—a problem that most women had assumed they could do nothing about.

She, like most women, had an affinity for shoes, but never immersed herself in it because she had not experienced complete satisfaction with any one pair of shoes. The heel wasn’t quite right, or the colour was just a shade off. Maybe the embellishments weren’t exactly what she was looking for, or the really beautiful ones pinched her toes.

And so, she commissioned someone to make shoes just for her. It changed the way she bought and wore shoes. Soon, her friends showed great interest in her custom shoe designs, and she started creating shoes for them, too.

That’s a great example of an enterprising woman solving a problem that only women have…and that, until now, has not been addressed because there didn’t seem to be an avenue or a market for it.

This is an example of a problem that only a woman is perfectly equipped to solve, bringing with it a distinct advantage for a female entrepreneur.

There’s something else that we can’t overlook.

Women are master networkers, by nature.

And most female entrepreneurs agree: they are successful not only because of their unique business idea, but because of their business connections.

Here’s why having a supportive business network is so valuable for female business owners:

Women are supportive

Women are competitive, for sure; however, they are also more apt to support one another. This means they’re more likely to forge mutually beneficial business relationships, in which a number of women involved all win. This is not only good for each individual woman, it’s great for female-led businesses in general.

Women are born to help

As you know, if you have useful information, it can be difficult to keep it to yourself. That’s our nature. We want to contribute, to enhance, to improve…the lives of others. This makes female business networks some of the most supportive and financially rewarding environments out there.

Women are willing to learn for a lifetime

In my coaching career, I have met very few women who think they’ve learnt everything there is to know about their industries. I have also met very few who weren’t willing to help colleagues to learn, too.

Women are community-minded

Bringing people together is a common goal, and that is evident in the efforts of female entrepreneurs to create win/win situations and to invite other motivated individuals into their networks.

All kinds of markets are hungry for the unique perspectives that only women have, and female consumers, especially, are eager to be spoken for in markets where they’re currently being underrepresented. Click To Tweet

So, now we’ll turn to you: What problem have you experienced that you know you’re not alone in? What pain have you endured that male-owned businesses have tried to relieve, but have struggled because they don’t have firsthand experience with it?

Or, what have you seen your friends or loved ones struggle with? Problems that are begging for the empathetic problem-solving skills of a woman?

These are the types of questions that will maintain and expand upon the current boom in growth of women-led business, both in Australia and around the world. There are gaps in every market, that’s for sure. But who is filling those gaps? Often, the answer to that question will determine the success of the venture.

Are you the woman for the job?

There is a powerful learning and networking platform for female entrepreneurs available to you, where incredibly talented, experienced female marketers and entrepreneurs are ready to support you in building your business. It’s the Fempire Academy, and I invite you to click here to learn about the benefits it holds for you.

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22 Comments

  1. Francie Jones

    In the wise words of Beyonce – ‘who run the world…girls!!!’
    Bring on the rise female business owners! I’m stoked to be part of this movement! To make my son proud and to run my own life!

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      LOVE Beyonce!! Smart lady! I have a 15 year old son Francie, I’m hoping what I’m doing makes an impression. It’s hard to tell through the grunts however.

      Reply
  2. Melinda McQueen

    Great point of view. Being a woman in the building industry and working for corporate I was sick of being ignored and just considered a number. Then the transition into Motherhood, corporate has no flexibility here, but maybe this is starting to slowly change. Not quick enough for me, so I needed out a necessity to become a business owner.

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      I hear you Melinda! We hear the same feedback around respect and treatment of women in many industries, however I have to say the building industry being so male dominated is a really tough industry for women. Motherhood and the corporate world can clash that’s for sure and many women choose to become Fempreneurs for that very reason – it’s why I did. It’s been the best decision I ever made!! Heck I wrote a book about it I was so inspired by the shift. 🙂 Marnie x

      Reply
  3. Jamina Tubbing

    Happy to have noticed that empathy and connection are gaining more recognition in the workplace, as the ‘soft skills’ and the value they offer is being better understood.

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      Yes there is hope Jamina! I believe with more women at the head of their own companies, operating from a feminine paradigm, empathy and vulnerability will help to transform outdated and quite frankly ineffective workplace practices in the future. Marnie x

      Reply
  4. Chantal Adams

    Wow this is a very Powerful and Inspiring article being a Mother to 2 children running my own business sets a great example to them,it shows how a Mother can raise children and still be a successful entrepenuer at the same time we are often told by others in society that we should just stay home and be a House wife and raise the children.

    Having a great career through running our own business not only allows us to inspire our children but gives them knowledge,and experience on how they could learn through what we as mothers are taking on it sets a great example I really feel that women in business is a wise and powerful way for women to boost their confidence and self esteem and to see what potential we as women in business can learn and gain.

    Reply
  5. Olivia Pratiwi

    My biggest struggle is having to let go of employees when things don’t go well or when there is an underlying reason outside of work that doesn’t allow employees to perform well.
    How do we do it better so that employees can truly thrive.

    As a daughter with a mom that went into full time work in her 40s, it still amazes me how much she blossomed. She was driven, she was fulfilled, she was alive!
    Her stories of how she overcame her challenges was most interesting to me.
    So I agree, being a female entrepreneur sets the example to their environment and sets the tone of how we would like this world to evolve.

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      I see letting an employee go differently Olivia. No it’s never fun or something any empathetic employer wants to do but have you thought of it this way…while you accept mediocrity from someone they are not pushed to do better or strive for more in themselves or in their lives.

      Perhaps losing their job will be the best thing that ever happened to them? Not at first, no but perhaps when they look back?

      I’ve been fired before (many people are at some point in their lives or they don’t get the job they really wanted or they failed at a business – I’ve experienced all three!!) and while my ego was initially dented it forced me to look at what I really wanted in life, where I needed to push harder and what I needed to do differently to achieve my goals.

      Keeping an employee out of guilt or a need to save them is not only detrimental to the company, we do them no favours, in my opinion. It may not sound empathetic, but it is.

      I certainly was grateful for losing a job I didn’t enjoy and was sticking at just because it was easier, safer and more secure to do so than to make a decision to leave and work out what I wanted in life. I am still grateful for the push my ex-boss gave me, even though it was years ago in my early twenties!

      But you were saying you struggled with it rather than avoided it. I hear you. No one (that I know of, or would like to know) enjoys having to fire anyone. Marnie x

      Reply
  6. Karis Harlon

    Mmmm… this article excites me greatly. It’s exactly what I am passionate about. Working with and for women. I love how you touched on the supportive nature of women. Great things happen when women come together. A force like no other. I will forever be grateful for the impact you have had on my life Marnie.

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      Humbled by your comment Karis, thank you xoxo

      Reply
  7. Ashley Hewitt

    Interesting read. I would love to start a business that only involves women – specifically post-partum women. Thanks for the insight.

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      Look forward to hearing when you start Ashley! Marnie x

      Reply
  8. Natasha

    ooh this speaks to me!!! That’s why I created Ambitious Mums. Women supporting each other is one of the greatest gift!!! Love everything about this x

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      Thank you! Love that you are supporting Mums Natasha! Marnie x

      Reply
  9. TIa

    Interesting article Marnie. I don’t run a mega business nor do I work in corporate. As you know I just coach people how to make real bread and have certain visions about how this could be expanded within the community. What I have found really challenging is that when I have shared some of these visions in our local community, particularly council, initial reaction has been positive then forgotten and sometimes I wonder if the reason for this is gender oriented, specially as I’m not a gung ho type of person.

    Reply
    • Marnie LeFevre

      In my experience it’s persistence bordering on obsession that gets through to councils, or anyone for that matter Tia, not gender. Remebber everyone is really only concerned with their own problems and workload so you need to be the loudest voice on their agenda or at least the most persistent. So don’t give up and don’t settle for a non response. They’re just busy and pro-active pays off. 🙂 Marnie x

      Reply
  10. Jenny Haig

    So true that women are very good at supporting each other. I don’t know what I would do without my support friends

    Reply
  11. Katrina Needhsm

    I thought the article was very insightful. We talk about how more women should be raised up in the business world and recognised for our contributions equally as that of our male counter parts. Interestingly there are some comments about …”sons”…and having them watch us as we function in this life. As a mum I would like to see a cultural shift not just in the rising of the womanhood into the entrepreneurial world but also the raising of this generation and every one thereafter of “men who have an acceptance of women in the work force as equals “. I believe it starts with teaching our sons that we as women bring great value to our world … and theirs !

    Reply

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