In part 2 of the Women in Business and Entrepreneurship Series, I looked at facts and trends on the growing number of women starting businesses. Regardless of whether a woman wants to start a small business or a large company, she is likely to face unique challenges and that’s what I’m exploring in this last part of the series.
Work-life balance continues to be a top challenge faced by working women everywhere. According to a recent Forbes.com article, 85% of women do the household’s grocery shopping, meal preparation, laundry and cleaning.
Being a full time businesswoman and running a household is not an easy feat. “We take care of our kids, do the laundry, clean the house, car pool and have to prove to the world that we can be successful business owners. We have high expectations of ourselves, but we also don’t get much sympathy from the world that we basically have two full time lives,” says Jenny Johnson, CEO of Cheeky & Swank, an apparel line for women and children.
Funding is also a major challenge facing women entrepreneurs. Most women self-fund their business but women requiring a large amount of initial capital find it difficult to attract venture capital funding. According to a report by the Kauffman Foundation, women only receive between 4 and 9 percent of all available venture capital dollars.
“People are not used to seeing women in these leadership positions and women must often face being the only woman in the room, at the conference, in the venture capital competition” says Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software, makers of Business Plan Pro. “You don’t often see an albino squirrel so when you do, you are going to look at it more closely, scrutinize it more, and wonder if different is good,” Parsons continues.
Looking to the Future
As we move forward we need to prove that different is, in fact, good. As women entrepreneurs, we bring a different perspective to entrepreneurship and business.
As today’s women entrepreneurs carry the torch that was passed to us by other trailblazing women, we have a responsibility to ensure the next generation of women entrepreneurs have even more opportunities and less challenges than we do.
Going back to the experiences that I discussed in part 1 of the Women in Business and Entrepreneurship Series, I feel we need more balanced speaker panels at business conferences. We need more women business professors at colleges. We need to support each other and collaborate more as women entrepreneurs.
When I was a little girl and my parents told me I could do anything the boys could do, I believed it. And I believe it even more today. Let’s remember how far we’ve come but let’s not forget what we’re still capable of achieving.