A recently-released Kauffman Foundation book on the surge of female entrepreneurs reveals that just 3% of the technology companies in the world are headed by women. Of the 500 largest companies in the world, only 12 have female CEOs, and only two of those companies reside in the rubric of technology.
While startling, these statistics should not incite discouragement. They should not be taken as jumping point for explanations or solutions and must not be considered a problem but instead a window of opportunity for women looking to get involved in new businesses through the web. Rapid globalization has occurred over the past few years, opening the gates to easy travel – something generations before have never known. Similarly, our generation is also experiencing a newfound facility of turning a business idea into reality by way of the internet. Plant a tree, read a book, and create a startup are seemingly the themes of the era.
There are a number of advantages available now through the internet that render the current moment a great time to kick off any idea, crazy as it may seem. This era has witnessed huge technological advances, low internet company infrastructure costs, and an impressive amount of money being offered by investors to entrepreneurs around the world.
There are a number of woman-created websites out there right now, like the wedding planning platform Weduary and the designer shirt delivery service Elizabeth & Clarke. And it’s impossible to ignore the buying power of female consumers and the doors opened by the feminist movement for women throughout the world.
Today, we at PulsoSocial would like to introduce you to a few ladies who stand out in the Latin American business world, sharing their profiles and perspectives:
1. Gisella Borja: CTO at Bookingmarkets, the first Colombian technology company to make it to the New York Stock Exchange, has reflected:
“I don’t think that there are areas designated specifically for men or women in the technology business world. What always matters most is the passion one has for his or her enterprise. Now, if a person is unfamiliar with an area of business, it’s necessary to do some homework, investigate, and seek out mentors and advisors with experience. It’s also important to take advantage of the enormous amount of information and tools available on the internet. I think that the best part of working with bookingmarkets has been the capital-seeking process, because it’s a continuous learning process. We’re constantly receiving feedback on our business model and strategies, and the ability to process that information is crucial. Women with entrepreneurial leanings have to take a risk and be unafraid of change. If they have an idea, they’ve got to try to execute it. I highly recommend Startup Weekend. It’s a space for exploring their crazy ideas, and it helps one to learn a lot about his or her own self and what can be achieved in just two days of hard work.”
“Limiting women to only certain types of enterprises and startups propagates the stereotype that women are only fit for certain things, and I think that such lines of thinking are outdated at this point. It’s time for women to be entrepreneurs in whatever areas their passions lie.”
When asked what her most notable experiences have been in her entrepreneurial work, Zapata replied:
“One of the most exciting experiences was finding out that Pixar was using our site to find voice talent. They found the voice used for Spanish Buzz in Toy Story 3 through us as well as the voice of Skynet in the last Terminator movie.”
And on a message she’d like to send to women with entrepreneurial dreams:
“Just do it. It’s only nature to fear the instability that comes with foregoing a fixed income, but if you don’t take the risk, you’ll never make it.
You can work on your business nights and weekends until you’re making enough to leave your day job and concentrate 100% of your efforts on your own enterprise. Startup Weekend is a great way to try out your idea without risking too much.”
3. Sally Buberman: At just 29-years-old, Sally is the co-founder of Wormhole IT and Wormhole Web Conference (WWC), among the most widely-used and best-positioned video conference and online education platforms in Latin America.
Given the current panorama, can there be any doubt left as to whether it’s time for women entrepreneurs to take off?
You may find below a few links to websites and articles for women looking to get started:
This text has been adapted into English from its original Spanish publication.