Are Women Driving the New Business Boom?

Have you noticed how many new businesses have sprung up recently? At The Barrett Group (TBG), we keep an eye on such developments.

Here’s what we’re finding.

Overall, new business formation has seen an enormous boom in the past few years—up 85% in the US over the 2004-2021 baseline [See source] with a corresponding leap in the EU during the same period. [See source.] In spite of the fact that LinkedIn cites entrepreneurs and start-up specialists as experiencing “high hiring demand”, only 6% of the nearly 11 million executives in our LinkedIn sample* list “Entrepreneurship” as a key skill, and only 5% list “Start-ups”. Still, that adds up to 600,000-650,000 execs and also highlights a significant gender imbalance—because women make up only 25% and 20% of these two cohorts respectively.

Why would women be so under-represented among entrepreneurs?

First, LinkedIn probably under-reports female entrepreneurs compared to other sources. For example:

In 2020, women made up 47% of new business owners, a significant jump from 29% in 2019, the report showed. That figure has held near that level — at 49% in 2021 and 47% in 2022 — signaling a stable trend rather than a one-off surge […] [See source.]

In the UK, another source also underscores the progress women entrepreneurs are making:

We currently track 7,401 high-growth UK companies founded by at least one female entrepreneur, just over half of which (3,949) have raised equity investment. Thats £16.9b secured in funding since 2011—by 8,222 female founders or co-founders. [See source.]

Apparently, women entrepreneurs have had to work harder than their male counterparts to raise capital, although this too may be changing:

In 2022, the funding rate for women-owned businesses rose to 41%, slightly higher than the 37% for businesses owned by men, according to a report by Biz2Credit, an online funding platform for small businesses. [See source.]

There are also pockets of even faster progress, too.

According to a recent survey by GoDaddy, “Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs in the US.” They have many stories, too, but one recurring theme is the opportunity to follow their own dreams. Here’s how one female entrepreneur expressed it:

Its been healing working for myself and creating a more fulfilling, supportive space, […] I didnt realize how much workplace trauma I had built up and wasnt dealing with until I left that system entirely. [Brianna Doe, Verbatim, See source.]

Another important subset of women entrepreneurs also successfully raises capital via the private equity route. “FemTech” and businesses focused on women’s health are showing definite progress:

In addition to now closing larger average deals than male founders and CEOs, womens health companies with female founders and CEOs set new fundraising records in general. Womens health companies with female founders collectively raised $434.9M: an amount that is nearly $100M – or nearly 30% – higher than the previous record of $335.6M, which they collectively raised in 2021. Womens health companies with a female CEO collectively raised $593.1M: almost $200M and almost 50% higher than the previous record of $39.26M, which was also set in 2021. [See source.]

In fact, “Women’s health unicorns, meanwhile, are no longer mythical creatures.” [See source.] In other words, multiple such companies have crossed the $1 billion valuation mark. “Women’s health thus entered 2024 with more unicorn companies than ever before. And, through their unicorn status, their large fundraising rounds, or both, these companies have proved that women’s health is not a niche business but rather an incredibly valuable one, due for increased investment.” [See source.]

Naturally, organizations such as Private Equity International seek to capitalize on this momentum by offering events such as “Women in Private Markets Summit, North America 2024”. Without endorsing any specific event, TBG clearly believes this attention is a positive development and should help women secure increased funding going forward.

Other entities are also promoting the opportunity for more women to become entrepreneurs and obtain funding, including the “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress initiative in the EU that highlights 100 female business leaders, celebrating their achievements while paving the way for others to follow. Their impressive list includes execs in impact investing, sustainable growth investment, reproductive health, neuroaesthetics, and many others business areas.

While overall, female executives hold a smaller share of leadership positions in the Middle East than in other regions, Forbes has come out again with its 100 most powerful businesswomen in the Middle East ranking. It headlines an impressive list of CEOs, Chairwomen, and Vice Presidents featuring a broad array of nationalities (28 in all) and industries (27 sectors). Financial services leads the way with 26% of the entries.

With so many options to choose from, executives may struggle to make the right choice. That is where TBG’s three decades of experience in guiding executives to choose the right path provides a significant edge.

“Our Clarity Program© offers a unique, 360° perspective on where each executive’s personality, current life circumstances, and longer-term aspiration align to suggest the best career path forward,” says TBG’s female CEO, Marion Engelke.

Here’s how one female exec describes her Clarity Program© experience:

I have just finished the Clarity process with Tatiana Miaskiewicz [her Clarity Coach] and it was excellent. The process is very thorough and well thought through in terms of progression from one stage to another. It is great to end up with a career vision that you can use as a beacon to head towards, especially when (like me) you find it hard to say no to things. Tatiana was wonderful – calm, professional, thoughtful. She was very engaged in my journey – I didn’t feel like she was just doing the same thing as she does with everyone – very personalized. [Claire Powell, Read more.]

Female executives may not be driving the boom in new business creation (yet), but they are gaining traction, and many are benefitting from TBG’s professional support along the way. Here’s another example, excerpted from client Jocelyne Moussavou’s Success Study:

Jocelyne was in no hurry to change jobs. For her, being intentional about her next move was more important. If career growth were the objective, she thought, perhaps she should consider career paths outside of government? But how should she do that?

 I started googling career management organizations” and The Barrett Group [TBG] popped up,” said Jocelyne. I reached out to learn more about the program, which seemed well worth the money. A month later, I signed up.” 

I loved working with Stacie [her Clarity Coach]! I was able to dream big with her. She was a good listener and really helped me explore what I was looking for. Id once done a 4-week, womens leadership program where I worked with a coach, but it was not as focused as working with Stacie. This experience was refreshing, and I always looked forward to my sessions with her.” 

[Jocelyne’s campaign helped her locate one particular opportunity. She interviewed, negotiated with TBG’s guidance, and was selected.]

When the offer did come, the compensation was substantially more than Jocelyne had been making. Jocelyne readily accepted and is now happily settling into her new position as VP of service contracts.

“[…] It is so amazing how everything just came together! I couldnt have dreamt this opportunity in my wildest dreams. Every aspect of what I identified as my dream job has been met in this role!” [Read more: Jocelyne Moussavou’s Success Study]

What is the lesson?

Do not leave something as critical as your career to chance. Be intentional. Invest the time to really understand what you want and how to achieve it. A better work/life balance is almost always achievable, as is higher compensation—if you have the Barrett Group behind you.

Why not implement your very own business boom. Hire the Barrett Group.

*The Barrett Group works worldwide, but focuses principally on the US, Canada, EU, UK, and Middle East.

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