Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs This WED Day
Today is WED day. Yes. You read that right. It’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014, this is the day that women step into the spotlight and celebrate their accomplishments.
The Global Entrepreneurship Week website notes that, “WED focuses the entrepreneurial community’s attention on female development and empowerment to help strengthen the ecosystem as a whole.” The world could use a bit more of this for sure.
Not so long ago, my co-founder Renee and I decided to come together to build something really special. You guessed it: Onboardly. Armed with a ton of confidence, but more importantly, with a vision of the kind of organization we wanted to be known for, we got to work. We didn’t have all the answers when we got started (and still don’t!), but we’ve learned a lot over the last three years and are grateful to be one of the many success stories to emerge from female entrepreneurship.
Our initial goals were simple: To do amazing work that helps our customers grow, to give employment opportunities to other like-minded people who want to be a part of something great, and to contribute to both our local and global startup ecosystem. We’re extremely proud of our efforts in achieving these goals daily and are excited about the future.
A 2012 Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey noted that there were 950,000 self-employed women in Canada, representing 35.6% of all self-employed persons. In 2014, the US-based National Association of Women Business Owners (NABOW) cited the following statistics:
- Women owned businesses own more than 9.1 million firms.
- They generate $1.4 trillion in sales.
- In the past seven years there has been an increase of 8.3 million (net) jobs.
- One in five organizations with revenue of $1 million or more is owned by a woman.
- 4.2% of all women-owned companies have revenues of $1 million or more.
We recognize that we’re very fortunate. In nearly three-quarters of the 30 countries surveyed by the Gender GEDI (Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index), it was remarked that the conditions for female entrepreneurship and business growth were less than favorable. Obstacles such as lack of access to funding opportunities, an underdeveloped (or unfriendly) local ecosystem and common misperceptions about women’s roles in business are all to blame for the lack of progress for women’s entrepreneurship.
In our work with startups and technology, we’ve been fortunate to get to know many other women entrepreneurs. Inspiring community builders like Debbie Landa, Maren Kate Donovan and Meghan Biro. Creators like Alexis Grant, Joanna Wiebe and Kate Matsudaira. Innovators like Katherine Hague, Heather Payne and Satya Twena. While the list could go on and on, we count these women, and dozens like them as friends, allies, mentors and inspiration for us on our journey.
When we meet inspiring ladies like these, we’re immediately compelled to want to work with them. One such group of ladies is Lisa Delorme and Kristy Wieber, co-founders of Rent frock Repeat (Full disclosure - they are one of our clients). These two scrappy women have been successful in attracting a ton of success, an extremely dedicated fanbase and the support of several prominent female investors.
Rent frock Repeat’s elevator pitch is to offer designer fashions to busy executives who don’t have the time or desire to shop. The concept is one that has been gaining quite a bit of attention in their local market and touches upon the popular themes of collaborative consumption and disrupting the fashion industry. With plans to expand into other regions, as well as adding new services to the mix, we’re in awe of their tenacity and drive.
Other female-led startups we can’t get enough of include Poppy Barley, Ship & Dip, Tog & Porter, HINT Events, Levo League and NEAT Method. Each of these amazing companies bring a ton of value into our lives - and we couldn’t be happier cheering them on from the sidelines.
Forget the myth that women are catty shrews. We’re a sisterhood, and we recognize that we all make each other better by collaborating. We’re in this together and by celebrating our accomplishments, we will encourage younger generations to become interested and involved in entrepreneurship. That’s something that we all need, regardless of our gender.
Are you a women entrepreneur? Founder? Funder?
Share your story with us in the comments section, or give a shout out to a female entrepreneur you love!
Photo Credit: Sarah Reid | Flickr