By GSKSMO CEO, Joy Wheeler
You’re likely to read a lot about today being Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. It’s a great way to celebrate the amazing contributions women-owned businesses make to our economy.
Every day is Women’s Entrepreneurship Day for the Girl Scouts. Empowering girls to become leaders is what we’re all about. And it’s never too early to start.
A few weeks ago, I watched as kindergarten and first-grade girls begin their entrepreneurial learning journey at our Daisy Cookie College. They practiced simple skills like how to count change, budget their snack money and talk with customers. These are 5- and 6-year-old girls! And they’re already learning the five pillars of our own signature entrepreneurial training program: goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
I have no doubt some of these girls will reflect the trends noted in the Girl Scout Research Institute study released today. Many will be interested in becoming entrepreneurs, but three in four will come to believe their gender is a stumbling block. Although girls start out strong, they expect to experience less support for their entrepreneurial spirit as they age.
There is good news out there about the state of female entrepreneurship. There were more than twice as many women entrepreneurs in the United States last year than 20 years ago. And the stats are piling up about their success. Founders with women on their teams are performing better than all-male teams – 63% better for one venture capital firm. And investors like Boston Consulting Group showed women in a start-up accelerator program generating exponentially more revenue than their male counterparts. Despite evidence like this, women-led startups receive just a fraction of the venture capital available.
Here are five ways you can influence this trend and make sure all girls have every opportunity to succeed when they grow up. The first four are summarized from Entrepreneur.com:
- Amplify women whose voices are unheard.
- Reach out to pull a woman up the ladder and into your circle.
- Leverage your social network to expand their reach.
- Become an angel investor or coach to open doors.
And the last idea is from me to you:
- Support Girl Scouts. It’s the largest girl-development organization in the United States, and, as today’s study shows, it makes a measurable impact on girls’ leadership potential.
Helping girls enter the business and entrepreneurial workforce is beneficial for girls and the world. If girls are left out of the entrepreneurial space, they can suffer from long-term financial and career consequences that contribute to the leadership and wage gap between men and women. But when girls’ and women’s ideas on how to change the world are put into action, the economy gains revenue and society gains ingenuity.
Like myself, once an entrepreneur always an entrepreneur. I know how much your support will mean to the next girl or young woman who is tempted to follow that entrepreneurial dream and make a meaningful difference for her community.