Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Women Entrepreneurs

When I attend venture capital events and look around the room, I'm almost always amazed to see so many men and so few women. Why is that?

A recent article in the Wall Street Journal (see link in my list of shared articles - Does an Aversion to Risk-Taking Hold Back Women Entrepreneurs?
from Independent Street by Kelly Spors) posits the idea that maybe there are fewer women entrepreneurs because women are risk averse. The article also surmises that women seek perfection, rather than jumping into a business before everything is finalized. Men are less afraid to do this. The article references another article about women in business that was published in the New York Times.

My own theory is that there are plenty of women-owned businesses, but most of the owners either want to keep their businesses small and easily managed or they don't want to give away ownership to equity investors. I like having a small business that I can run out of my home. I like being the sole proprietor, answering to no one but my clients. I want to focus on my craft and my clients needs. I want to manage my growth my own way.

I also don't have a business that investors would like. Most VCs I've met want a high-tech business with lots of intellectual property protected by patents. They want fast growth and huge returns on their investments. They're looking for a fast path to operating profit.

While there are some great women entrepreneurs out there, I just haven't run across many that fit this sort of profile. Maybe they've been beaten up too much in the corporate world. Maybe they've been looked down on for so long, they've lost sight of what they could accomplish. Maybe what lets them excel in school -- doing the work well and pleasing the teacher -- isn't what makes for a great entrepreneur. Who knows?

What do you think?
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