What Do Female Entrepreneurs Need?
In honour of Women’s month, there are lot of campaigns that are highlighting women, advocating for women and putting women at the forefront of various corporate imagery. Have women earned to all this attention and hype? Certainly, but advocating for women and fighting for the proverbial cause cannot be something that occurs only once a year. It needs to be an intentional roll-out in both the public and private spheres. As a business coach, I have worked with women one-on-one and have had privileged knowledge about the challenges that female entrepreneurs experience. Regardless of the challenges, it is imperative to remember one thing as female entrepreneurs; entrepreneurship is about courage and as a woman in business, if you want to succeed, you have no choice but to be courageous. As onlookers or supporters of women in business, we need to reinforce and support female entrepreneurship and this can be done in various ways, including mentorship, coaching and training and breaking down of barriers. Mentorship “A mentor empowers a person to see a possible future and believe it can be obtained.” – Shawn Hitchcock. Mentorship is business can be the difference between making huge financial losses or profits. Having a mentor means having a point of reference. Mentors can guide a business owner and prevent the owner from making the mistakes that they have made before. With particular reference to women, female mentors can relate to female business owners especially when they are starting out and need help with i.e., asserting their dominance, being confidant with their positions and other relevant matters. Mentors help to make the journey easier. Coaching & Training I’m a business coach so it goes without saying that I am a big proponent of business coaching. Business coaches can help you with the operational elements of your business, like implementing systems, building high performance teams, generating cashflow and such elements. However, they can also help you with the bigger issues like defining your vision. Business coaches are to business owners what football coaches are to soccer players, success is collaborative and both parties have their part to play when it comes to scoring the goals. Coaching is needed so is training. Africa is the only continent where women are more likely to become business owners. Women on this continent are serious about business. Therefore, institutions need to be serious about equipping women in business. Business training provides women with the skills and resources needed to operate and lead sustainable businesses that can make a substantial impact on the economy. The training of female entrepreneurs is one of the most important investments Africa can make for its future. Breaking Down Barriers There are challenges facing female entrepreneurs; having support, gender bias or people believing you’re getting ahead simply because the government wants to promote female entrepreneurship, access to funding and more. Women have to be aware that it may be more challenging for them especially in sectors such as ICT where they are the minority. Barriers have to be broken down because in so doing, we will be ensuring that women are better equipped to play their role in creating jobs, alleviating poverty and building the economy which essentially benefits all people, men and women included.