A great opportunity lies before both our countries—one that can unlock significant economic growth. By investing in women entrepreneurs, and helping them get to the next level, we stand poised to generate great gains. We already have a number of factors in our favor. Strong business-oriented economies. Social and political stability. Ready access to advanced education. Combined with entrepreneur-friendly cultures, an educated and engaged female workforce and inspirational examples of women entrepreneurs, the stage is clearly set for significant change.
It is imperative for Canada and the United States’ economic growth to ‘level the playing field’ for women entrepreneurs.
To be sure, there are also challenges before us, some of them significant. Not only are women underrepresented in leadership of at-scale companies, but there are also barriers that act as ceilings to women’s vast business potential. On one hand, we struggle to raise capital as compared to our male counterparts. Likewise, we also typically have smaller networks than men do, which limits our access to business and technical talent. On the other hand, we often run into unique dynamics at home, where expectations on women are greater.
Combine this with cultural bias, which limits our 1:1 interaction with men, and women still have challenges to overcome.
Despite those barriers, we are hopeful. And we firmly believe that four immediate steps—bold moves in both the public and private sectors—can shift current dynamics and drive meaningful progress.
Improve the existing US Women Owned Small Business (WOSB) program, while initiating a similar type of program in Canada.
Enhance existing initiatives to connect women entrepreneurs with corporate customers, while challenging these corporations to set stretch targets and leading them to attract women-owned businesses.
Call for bold steps to attract and develop women-owned businesses, while implementing improved tracking and transparency and showcasing successful initiatives that have helped others move forward.
Encourage both governments to continue to study ways to lower the cost of unpaid care, thereby promoting level economics for starting or scaling a business.
By being so bold—and taking advantage of the opportunities before us—we will not only drive cultural change but we will also move the economies of both nations.
Date Posted: Jan, 2018