Recognizing Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

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Today, we recognize Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. The Little Market, a nonprofit organization founded by women for women, is committed to using our platform to support women entrepreneurs from the most underrepresented and under-resourced communities around the world. Keep reading to learn more about this important day. 

Women’s Entrepreneurship Day was first observed in 2013. The annual observance has flourished into a global movement that celebrates women entrepreneurs around the world while advancing equitable opportunities for their success. Inspired by decades of advocacy and on-the-ground work, Wendy Diamond founded Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Organization (WEDO), a nonprofit organization. In her own words: “women’s entrepreneurship is a powerful force for global change, and much more.” WEDO is celebrated at the United Nations and in 144 countries and 65 universities and colleges across the globe. 

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) researches economies in 59 countries, according to their 2018-2019 report:

  • Globally, there are approximately 231 million women entrepreneurs. 
  • The Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) rate for women is 10.2%, about three-quarters of that for men.1
  • Women of childbearing years, ages 25-44, have the highest entrepreneurial participation rates.
  • 27% of women around the globe pursue entrepreneurship “out of necessity,” compared to 21.8% of men. 
  • There is a geo-economic disparity in the motives behind women’s entrepreneurship. In North America, just 9% of women started their businesses “out of necessity,” compared to 79% who started to “pursue an opportunity.”
Artisans in Tanzania | Sidai Designs
Photo Courtesy of Sidai Designs

There are some significant gains made by women entrepreneurs in the United States. According to the annual State of Women-Owned Businesses Report:

  • Between 2018 and 2019, American women started an average of 1,817 new businesses per day.
  • Women-owned businesses represent 42% of all American businesses, employing 9.4 million workers and generating revenues of $1.9 trillion.2
  • Between 2014 and 2019, the number of women-owned businesses grew 3.9% annually, while the number owned by some historically underrepresented women grew by 7%. The numbers between 2018 and 2019 grew 5% (all women-owned) and 10% (women of color). Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander women entrepreneurs remain disproportionately underrepresented in business ownership. 
Recognizing Women's Entrepreneurship Day 2020 - Graphic (1)
Source: 2019 The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express Summary of Key Trends, pg. 6, accessed November 8, 2020. 

Entrepreneurship is widely regarded as a positive avenue for women’s economic success. We must remain mindful about nuanced dynamics complicating women’s experiences as entrepreneurs. According to a 2018 study of women’s entrepreneurial labor,3 investment and market access remain key challenges to a truly empowering entrepreneurial experience for women, particularly in the Global South. Typically, women entrepreneurs have limited access to external investment and often find their business growth hindered or delayed by insufficient funding. Moreover, many women contend with limited access to e-commerce platforms and marketing tools. As noted earlier, many women in under-resourced communities turn to entrepreneurship out of need. We must recognize that one approach does not fit all women’s entrepreneurial aspirations and needs. 

Artisans in India | Anchal ProjectJPGPhoto Courtesy of Anchal Project

At The Little Market, we are committed to advocating for equitable opportunities that support women along their unique journeys. We source from women-led organizations with limited access to traditional e-commerce platforms. Choosing to support women-owned businesses contributes to the flourishing of women’s creativity and entrepreneurial potential around the world. 

Notes + Sources
Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) represents the percentage of the adult working-age population, ages 18–64, who are new entrepreneurs.
2019 The State of Women-Owned Businesses Report commissioned by American Express Summary of Key Trends. Accessed November 8, 2020. Web.
3Boeri Natascia. “Challenging the Gendered Entrepreneurial Subject: Gender, Development, and the Informal Economy in India,” January 11, 2018. Accessed November 8, 2020. Web.

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