By Michael Young
Entrepreneurs are the world’s job creators. By 2025, the world will need 600 million new jobs to employ the entire eligible workforce. Women entrepreneurs are critical to growing the global economy. It’s estimated that there are 274 million women entrepreneurs worldwide. But studies show that while women are starting businesses twice as fast as men, they have disproportionately higher rate of failure.
Empowering women entrepreneurs is a priority for Dell and we continue to invest in research to better understand the obstacles standing in women’s way of not just starting a business, but growing it. Our first few years of research looked at the operational and enabling environments for women entrepreneurs in key countries. In 2016 and 2017 our WE Cities research drilled down to the city level to assess the impact of local policies as well as national laws and customs.
Now we are putting this analysis in to action. At the 9th Annual Dell Women Entrepreneurs Network Summit, Dell unveiled our 2018 WE Cities Blueprints, diagnostic tools to help lawmakers enable women entrepreneurs to succeed. Built on the findings of the 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, that measured 50 global cities on their ability to foster high-potential women entrepreneurs (HPWE),10 city Blueprints designed to spotlight actions a city can take to improve the ecosystem for women entrepreneurs.
We leverage these tools in a roadshow where we’re meeting with policymakers, investors, academics, women entrepreneurs, media and advocates from the private sector to share findings, hack solutions and bring together women entrepreneurs with women investors.
Last month, we hosted an event in Boston focused on empowering women entrepreneurs. Boston ranked fourth on the 2017 WE Cities Index and the Boston city blueprint highlighted that while Boston does an excellent job in areas of access to capital and access to talent, the city should implement policies to improve working conditions for women. This is the reason we brought Mayor Marty Walsh together with entrepreneurs like Sheila Marcelo of Care.com and Kiki Mills Johnston of MassChallenge, and business leaders like Howard Elias, President of Services and Digital at Dell, Bob Rivers, CEO of Eastern Bank, and Linda Henry, Managing Director of the Boston Globe. They each shared experiences, challenges, opportunities and advice, analyzed the new data unveiled by Dell, and discussed ways to work together and ways to hold people accountable so that talk becomes action.
As Christine Fraser, Dell’s Chief Responsibility Officer, explained in Boston, “these blueprints are guideposts and great platforms for having a conversation in each city, with the people who can influence the outcome and create an ecosystem that can discuss the issues, consider the solutions and be accountable for the change.”
We will have similar conversations at our upcoming events in Mexico City and Sao Paulo, Brazil in September and in Sydney, Australia in October. For Dell, the key is to help change the conversation around women entrepreneurs and find opportunities and potential public-private partnerships that can bring about real and lasting results. Research and events like this one bring us one step closer to creating equal opportunities for all women, helping them succeed in business while strengthening local economies.