Australia has placed second among 30 countries as one of the best places for female entrepreneurship.
The second annual index compiled by Dell collates data from the World Bank, the UN, UNESCO, the IFC, and other international bodies, to rank which countries are excelling, and which ones are falling behind.
The 2014 Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI) revealed the following insights:
- Australia named one of three best places for female entrepreneurship, together with The United States and newcomer Sweden.
- Policymakers need to do more; more than 75 per cent of countries surveyed are not meeting the most fundamental conditions required for female entrepreneurs to prosper.
Notably the index takes into account only the underlying factors which are considered ‘ripe conditions’ for female entrepreneurship, not women’s propensity to take up entrepreneurial pursuits.
The GEDI measures high potential female entrepreneurship by analysing entrepreneurial ecosystems, business environments and individual aspirations across 30 developed and developing economies spanning multiple regions, and provides for cross-country comparison, benchmarking, and identifies data gaps.
“The Gender-GEDI Index provides key insights designed to help countries advance female entrepreneurship and ultimately bolster the global economy. We believe awareness of the current landscape for women entrepreneurship is the first step toward change,” Dynamic Business heard from Karen Quintos, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Dell.
Among the 17 countries included in both the 2013 and 2014 Gender-GEDI reports, four increased their rankings, including India and Japan, while four showed a decline (Malaysia, Egypt, Mexico and Morocco), and the others ranked comparatively both years.
Ranking first in Asia-Pac, and second overall, Australia also had the most female technology startups out of all 30 countries studied.
“To harness the full potential of the low performing countries, the Gender-GEDI results demonstrate that basic improvements are required in terms of access to equal legal rights and education as well as acceptance of women’s social and economic empowerment,” said Ruta Aidis, project director for the Gender-GEDI. “For countries with moderate scores, to improve their rankings, they should focus both on current women’s enterprise development interventions and support as well as basic improvements in the business-enabling environment.”
While the top performing countries tended to have good business-enabling environments overall, they could benefit from supporting programs designed to activate and accelerate the growth of high-potential female entrepreneurs and even those with the highest scores still have room for improvement.
Key factors towards change:
- Access to capital continues to be crucial. Access to a formal bank account is critical for entrepreneurs, especially since it is a necessary precursor to the financing (bank loans, credit lines, etc.) that fuels business growth. Globally, women receive less outside funding for their businesses than men. In 14 out of 30 countries studied, 50 percent or more of the female population remain unbanked, including in Bangladesh and India.
- Many industries remain male-dominated. Occupation crowding, or the existence of ‘male’ and ‘female’ jobs in a country’s economy, not only contributes to the gender wage gap but also results in the concentration of women’s entrepreneurial activity within specific sectors, which can be detrimental to fully utilising a nation’s capacity for innovation.
- Female start-up activity is on the rise in emerging markets.
- Women’s rights must be addressed first.
- More women needed in management roles.
The survey coincides with Dell’s fifth annual Dell Women’s Entrepreneur Network (DWEN) event, currently underway in Austin, Texas.