For the National Women’s Business Council, the month of March is particularly special. March, which is also Women’s History Month, serves as a time to commemorate the landscape achievements of women leaders, innovators, and entrepreneurs across the country, and the globe. March 8th officially marks International Women’s Day 2018 – which annually serves as an international moment to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women who have shifted the global landscape and have fostered growth in a myriad of ways. Today, we reflect on the areas of opportunity for women to reach their full potential, but also reset the baseline for how we can support women business owners and leaders through our own efforts across the globe.
In November 2017, the United States and the Republic of India held the eighth annual Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in Hyperabad, India themed Women First, Prosperity for All, with a specific focus on supporting women entrepreneurs and advancing global economic growth and opportunity. The 2017 Summit theme and concentration on women was the opportunity to convene innovators and change-makers in programming to cultivate partnerships, pitch their business ideas to potential investors, such as the GIST Catalyst Pitch Competition, and learn about the various avenues to transform their businesses – and eventually transform their communities, countries, and the world. It’s important to note that this year was the first time that women were the majority of participants at GES. Of the over 1,200 entrepreneurs in attendance, about 52.5 percent of entrepreneurs were women, attending from 127 different countries. Overall, it was the opportunity for individuals from a multitude of backgrounds across the global community to listen and learn from one another.
At the Council, we have also followed that goal of global connectedness through our own efforts here in the United States. Over the past years, in ties with the U.S. Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, the Council has met with delegations of women entrepreneurs and economic leaders from countries all over the world to discuss the state of women’s entrepreneurship; share our research findings and data such as our “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Model” – a tool to evaluate regional supports for women’s entrepreneurship; and serve as a resource for the broader community of women business leaders. Following up on GES on December 4th, 2017, Council Member Rose Wang was honored to represent the Council at a briefing hosted at the State Department’s Foreign Press Center to a reporting tour of 18 foreign journalists coming from the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES). These critical engagement opportunities have also taught us the importance of collaboration and reminded us the impact women entrepreneurs have made all across the globe.
As the Council celebrates 29 years and looks ahead to our 30th this coming October, we remain committed to conducting critical research that identify the areas for growth and opportunity for women business owners. We will continue to construct and elevate policies that will vitally address access to capital and market disparities that women encounter at all phases of their business journeys. We look at this year as a dynamic opportunity to learn from the global and domestic communities to increase our understanding and shape the ways we work to progress entrepreneurial development and economic opportunity for current and aspiring women entrepreneurs. Throughout Women’s History Month, themed #Capital4HerBiz, we will be continuing to unveil our research related to women’s access to capital so check out our first report, in conjunction with the Library of Congress’ Federal Research Division titled, Understanding the Landscape: Access to Capital for Women Entrepreneurs, which is a deep-dive into the landscape of access to capital for women entrepreneurs.
To learn more about our upcoming research and activities, be sure to check out our website at www.nwbc.gov and follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can join the conversation online as well using the hashtags #WomensHistoryMonth #InternationalWomensDay #Capital4HerBiz.
Author: Shannon Trudge, Program and Operations Manager for the National Women’s Business Council