Have you ever wondered if women approach entrepreneurship different than men?
While this is something that's crossed my mind many times, it's not something I've researched so when I met someone who did research this, I knew I had to interview her.
Winnie Wong is the author of "You Don't Have To Look The Part, How East Asian Women Thrive As Entrepreneurs & Make A Great Bet For Investors" and my interview with her on this topic is packed with stats, stories and inspiration.
**This was also a podcast episode (episode #191. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.
Passion For Entrepreneurship
Winnie supported an educational program for women in Singapore by teaching them entrepreneurship. This program led to an increase in entrepreneurship from 6% to 40% and even more, this allowed the lives of their families to change in many ways.
"It was a live case study of entrepreneurship and how it could change someone's life. It wasn't about what was given to them, it was that they were creating a future for their families." - Winnie Wong
Winnie shared that her experience teaching in Singapore, the classes were held on Sunday's and that was the only day off that the women had during the week. So on their only day off, they would sit in class learning about assets and liabilities and then do homework throughout the week.
This goes to show you that when you really want something (like entrepreneurship), you will find the way to make it work. You'll likely have to sacrifice something, or many things, in the short term but if it's worth it, you will be willing to make it happen.
"If you have a will, there is a way." - Winnie Wong
How Women Approach Entrepreneurship Versus Men
As Winnie interviewed and researched many women entrepreneurs for her book, she realized that women approached entrepreneurship differently due to the barriers they face and their relationship with themselves.
Barries women entrepreneurs face:
Needed flexibility due to domestic duties at home
Unconscious bias, one example being venture capitalist not investing in females because of the possibility of them having children
Not able to travel as much due to domestic duties at home
"Some people don't want to invest in solo female founders because they're worried they might have children or choose their children over their business. They never consider that a male founder will choose their children over a business." - Winnie Wong
Women entrepreneur's relationship with themselves:
They are more likely to empathize with the customer which leads to focusing on the problem before getting to a solution
They often have to tame their inner critic more than men
"It's a lot about changing your inner narrative." - Winnie Wong
Women Entrepreneurs & Venture Capital
As Winnie learned more about entrepreneurship and venture capital, she realized that women own one third of businesses but only receive 2% of the venture capital funding. This led her down the path of researching why this was the case despite these stats:
"There is research from the Boston Consulting Group that says that women founded or co-founded startups actually generate 10% high returns despite raising less capital than male led startups." - Winnie Wong
"Kevin O'Leary, one of the judges on Shark Tank, shared that 75% of his returns come from women led startups." - Winnie Wong
In Winnie's book, You Don't Have To Look The Part, How East Asian Women Thrive As Entrepreneurs & Make A Great Bet For Investors, you can read the extensive research done on this topic.
How Women Define Success In Entrepreneurship
When it comes to defining success as an entrepreneur, Winnie's research connected with my research for my book in that women tend to have a strong why behind the financial success they want to achieve.
"Success isn't necessarily about money, but it's actually about giving back and helping others." - Winnie Wong
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All along the way as entrepreneurs, no matter what your gender is, it's far too easy to compare your all encompassing story with other's highlight reels. Be sure to remember that everyone has ups and downs but you're likely not seeing everyone else's and you're certainly not feeling it like they are.
"I'd say success means accepting life's ups and downs as they are and learning and growing from them." - Winnie Wong.
Take Away Message / Action
After being inspired by Winnie's research, I'll leave you with her words on what your next step is:
"Realize that everyone goes through ups and downs and that you will pick yourself up but it's important to always just take that next step, move forward and understand that tomorrow you'll do better." - Winnie Wong
And until next time give yourself permission to define success on your terms and grace along the way. I'll talk to you soon!
"It was a live case study of entrepreneurship and how it could change someone's life. It wasn't about what was given to them, it was that they were creating a future for their families."
- Winnie Wong
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