From developing new technology to disrupting traditional retail, Tampa Bay’s startups have led incredible advancements in a variety of industries, but there’s one area where we are still falling short: women entrepreneurs. Unfortunately, we’re part of a larger national trend. While more women than ever before are pursuing higher education and becoming successful leaders in competitive job markets, they continue to represent a minority of business leaders nationwide. It’s about time we changed that statistic.
What Are Some Barriers Women Face in Business Today?
- They feel like they can’t fit in. It’s not surprising that women assume they have to be overtly masculine to be taken seriously in a field that has long been dominated by men, but that approach is almost always a one-track path to career burnout. While equally intelligent, creative and ambitious as men, women bring a different dynamic and point of view to doing business as usual, which is exactly what makes them so valuable to companies that want to stay competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace.
As women we must start embracing the fact that we bring a lot to the table of any company whether we are an employee or an owner. Being a male dominated company is no longer competitive.
- They lack startup financing. Securing financing is crucial to the survival of a startup, especially in the first year when profits are often too low to sustain a growing business. With the exception of serial entrepreneurs who can piggyback new ventures on old capital, the majority of people looking to start a business from scratch will need outside help. For women, that can be difficult. Venture capitalists are naturally drawn to people they can relate to the most, and since men make up the majority of today’s investors, women entrepreneurs can have a hard time getting funded.
Thankfully, firms are finally coming under pressure to hire more female venture capitalists. In the meantime, women entrepreneurs can overcome the industry bias by perfecting their pitches, teaming up with experts, or reaching out to women-run funds. WaVE is a great place to start. We’ve got a ton of women leaders in our network.
- They don’t have time to juggle full-time careers and families. Many women end up shelving their dreams of owning a business because they’re too overwhelmed by a demanding lifestyle at home. If there is one thing I’ve learned from the ladies I work with, it’s this. There’s no reason why you can’t have both a fulfilling family life and a rewarding career. The great thing about being the boss of your own startup is that you make the rules, so while building a business is never easy, setting your own hours means that you don’t have to choose between your job and your personal life.
Doing Our Share to Support More Women Entrepreneurs in Tampa Bay
Diversity and equal opportunity are the seeds of every successful entrepreneurial community. Without women on our side, Tampa Bay can’t reach its fullest potential as a center for financial independence and innovation. While we can all be proud of homegrown women-led blockbuster brands like Spanx and Bourbon and Boweties, we need more success stories.
If you’re a woman entrepreneur in our area, let’s team up in the fight to close the gender gap in business. Tampa Bay WaVE offers a supportive women’s entrepreneur forum and an impressive accelerator process to drive your startup forward. From connecting you with experienced mentors to keeping you on track with weekly accountability meetings and teaching you the ins and outs of raising revenue, our unique program is designed to help women like you break the mold. By joining together, we can make a difference.