The climate for women-driven entrepreneurship in Massachusetts is improving, but women could benefit from a statewide “entrepreneurship center” that would allow more women to work together and share resources.
This recommendation is one of several recommendations contained in a report released Monday. The Women’s Entrepreneur Initiative (WEI) study concludes that women entrepreneurs need better access to resources, finance, expertise and networks in order to keep making profits.
“From an extensive literature review, we found that women are the fastest growing, top performing and least economically used sub-segment of entrepreneurs,” said Constance Gamache of Deloitte Consulting, one of the study’s lead analysts.
According to the data collected for the report, women make up 45 percent of all American business owners, and that number continues to grow.
“Women-owned companies grew more than twice as fast as any other company in the second half of the last decade. If you break that data even further,” said Gamache, “women in color owned companies have quadrupled.” . ”
The progress comes despite significant funding problems. Women who started or owned businesses received less than half of the investment capital than businesses founded by men, the report said. In terms of return on investment, women made 78 cents per dollar of investment while men made just 31 cents.
“That growth and achievement,” said Gamache, “resulted in national revenues of $ 1.9 trillion in 2014 and 2019.”
Cory Thomas, chairman and CEO of Rapid Seven and the NAACP Social Justice Committee, said he welcomed the research because it shows where there are limitations and prejudices that affect women in business.
“Gender, race, and economic differences are all linked,” said Thomas. “And reports like this with a focus on action will help us transform entrepreneurs, our economy and our society.”
The report is titled “It’s Her Time: Massachusetts Women Entrepreneurs”. “It is a collaboration between the Boston Mayor Office of Women’s Advancement and the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, and Deloitte Consulting LLP.
At a virtual event where the report was released on Monday, several successful entrepreneurs shared their experiences as women entrepreneurs.
Dr. Sangeeta Bhatia, professor of bioengineering at Dorothy Wilson at MIT, said mentoring and finance are two main areas of focus.
“Access to mentors can show you some kind of roadmap for starting a business, but not just who to call,” Bhatia said.[but] how to access the venture capitalist and who to include on your board. ”
Dr. Daphne Koller, a professor of computer science and a MacArthur Fellow at Stanford University, said there are still many barriers to young girls moving forward in STEM and entrepreneurship, including the lack of a network.
“It’s really important when building a business,” said Koller, “to have the people you know and who you can connect with the right people, especially in the world we live in today, where talent is so scarce Good is.” . ”
The researchers conducted a comprehensive review of the existing literature on women entrepreneurs, interviewed 102 women entrepreneurs in Massachusetts, and conducted 13 in-depth interviews with women entrepreneurs.