“In a changing world, nothing changes for women entrepreneurs”. Such is the disappointing finding of the 3th barometer Bold by Veuve Clicquot on women’s entrepreneurship, made public on May 24. “The figures on the desire to undertake had increased sharply between 2019 and 2021, recalls Jean-Marc Gallot, general manager of the champagne house of the LVMH group (shareholder of Challenges). The proportion of women wishing to undertake is in drop this year, after the Covid crisis which gave a glimpse of the reality of everyday life”.
The desire for entrepreneurship is on the decline among women
Worrying? This result, in any case, challenges the representatives of the brand, committed for a long time in favor of female entrepreneurship, under the aegis of the famous widow. Since 1972, the champagne house has awarded a prize every year, long known as the “business woman prize”, now renamed Bold, which therefore celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2022. On May 24, several winners of different countries had made the trip to Paris to testify to the obstacles encountered on their journey, to analyze them and to suggest avenues for reflection.
What are we talking about ? In this new edition of the international barometer on female entrepreneurship, nearly 50,000 people were questioned via the internet, in 25 countries on 5 continents. First observation: female entrepreneurship is stagnating all over the world, at 16% in France and the United Kingdom, for example. The only notable exception is Africa: 61% of South African women claim to be entrepreneurs, and even 89% of Nigerian women. Second observation: the desire to undertake is in decline, at 35% in France, after having jumped from 28% to 38% between 2019 and 2021.
More criticized than men by their employees and peers
But, underlines Carole Bildé, director of marketing and communication of Veuve Clicquot, “the note is much more positive among the youngest”. Because the generation of women under thirty remains resolutely motivated: 59% of them “would like to become entrepreneurs” in France, 55% in the United Kingdom, 25% in Japan … not to mention 91% of women in South Africa and 90% in Nigeria! But if they decide to act, they will have to overcome difficulties that do not arise for men.
And for good reason ! In South Africa, 57% of women think they “must act like a man if they want to succeed” – more than in France, where they are still 50%. “We want to look like men because it’s the dominant, patriarchal culture, says Amanda Dambouza, creator (in 2013) of a technology consulting company in South Africa. But the image of women entrepreneurs is in the process of to change”. Another pitfall: the criticism that comes from all sides. The barometer indeed shows that women entrepreneurs are more criticized “by their employees and their peers” than male entrepreneurs: 60% make this observation in France…and 82% in South Africa! “Whether you are feminine or look like a man, you are criticized,” says Amanda Dambouza.
Last obstacle, and not the least, pointed out by the 2023 barometer: the relationship to money and the lack of fundraising carried out by women. If it “is more difficult for a woman than for a man to become an entrepreneur” in all the countries of the world (66% of people questioned in France), it is largely because they have less easy access to financing. than men (57% in France). And the vast majority (67% in France), they consider that “financing, investments and fundraising are and will be more difficult to achieve in 2023”.
“Make sense” rather than “make money”
“You enter the room, you are going to be the only woman and you know it”, summarizes Véra Kempf (Singulart), Bold winner of the year. Not really enough to build confidence or overcome the “financial anxiety” that accompanies it, especially since it does not come from an entrepreneurial background. “I’m always afraid, discomfort is part of our lives,” says Canadian Janet LePage, who in 2014 created the real estate investment company Western Wealth Capital. A real success that demonstrates that those who dare can succeed despite all the obstacles that stand in their way.
What can be done to strengthen the place of women in business creation? “You have to educate girls about money, says Hélène Boulet-Supau, founder of Educawa and FabWorkplace, former general manager of Sarenza. Less than 5% of fundraising is done by women, recalls her. I don’t even understand how we can still accept that”. In France, money has moreover disappeared from the first motivations given by women to create their business. They do it mainly (48%) to “be their own boss”, or (32%) to “give meaning by developing their own values and beliefs”.
A database of women entrepreneurs
But above all, women must learn not to have a bad conscience. “Stay strong in the face of criticism,” suggests Janet LePage, instructed by her own experience. “For my children, I was there when I had to, but I still had to overcome my feeling of guilt,” explains the Canadian entrepreneur. “We want to show that it’s possible, underlines Carole Bildé, we have to go there, we have to get started. I think we can do it a lot by example”.
However, as the barometer shows, women entrepreneurs do not always have in mind the names of other women entrepreneurs likely to inspire them. It is in the hope of strengthening their notoriety that Veuve Clicquot launched the Bold Open Data Base in December 2022. The first open, free and global database to make women entrepreneurs visible, it received the support of the scientist Aurélie Jean and in five months, 1,600 entrepreneurs who registered on boldopendatabase.com. Obviously, this can only be a start.
Source: Challenges en temps réel : accueil by www.challenges.fr.
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