Women would be more successful in entrepreneurship if they had the support of other women

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    More and more women are starting their own businesses. But, for many of them, the path to entrepreneurship is still riddled with obstacles. Mentoring programs could remedy this problem, according to a British-American study.

    The authors of this research, published in the journal Marketing Science, reached this conclusion after conducting an experiment with 930 Ugandan entrepreneurs, 40% of whom were women. In general, the business founders who participated in this study were 31 years old and had two children. They had interrupted their studies after high school (or an equivalent qualification) or had continued their higher education.

    The volunteers were randomly divided into two groups, one control and another called “treatment.” The people in this second group had the support of a mentor with more experience in the business world. The researchers wanted to determine if entrepreneurs benefited from this support from an experienced profile.

    It is clear that this is the case. The mentors were of great help to the study participants, although their impact was more significant on the women entrepreneurs. The latter saw their turnover increase by 32%, on average, when they were followed by a mentor.

    Strong gender disparities in entrepreneurship

    However, this phenomenon is correlated with the gender of the mentor. In fact, women entrepreneurs saw their performance improve when they had the support of a more experienced professional. “Relationships between mentors and mentees are characterized by more positive commitment“, we can read in the study.

    This can be explained by the fact that the mentors have undoubtedly gone through the same difficulties as the women entrepreneurs they support. They know what levers to use to overcome them and forge their own path in a professional world that remains too hostile for business creators.

    In fact, the business ecosystem continues to be marked by strong disparities between genders. Women tend to embark on entrepreneurial ventures later than men because they are driven by the need to prove themselves in the job market before becoming their own bosses. In France, 44% of working women expect to have acquired more than ten years of professional experience before creating their own company, according to a study carried out by the Roland Berger agency, in collaboration with WILLA and France Digitale. By comparison, only a quarter of men wait that long.

    Overcome limiting beliefs

    To make the world of entrepreneurship more equal, it is important that women are surrounded by mentors who help them take responsibility and overcome their own limiting beliefs. “Ultimately, we found that to increase women entrepreneurs’ chances of success, there is promise in connecting them with other women entrepreneurs.“says Pradeep Chintagunta, one of the co-signers of the study, in a press release.

    For this, there are exclusively female business networks, some of which even have thousands of members. Its role should not be underestimated in the world of entrepreneurship, but more generally in the world of work.

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