Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You’re reading Entrepreneur United States, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
Latin America has become a magnet for investors: so far this year, investments in Latin American startups have reached a record $ 11.5 billion . In addition, the region went from two to more than 34 unicorns in the last four years and this marks only the beginning.
Entrepreneurships led by women are also a growing trend and, although they still only represent just 12% of the total number of unicorns born this year, the number of businesses led by women is increasing globally. According to Veuve Clicquot ‘s Women’s Entrepreneurship Barometer Global Report 2021 , women found in the COVID-19 crisis an opportunity to dare to go after that long-dreamed of project. Entrepreneurship appears as the best alternative for one in four women who do not want to return to their pre-pandemic job and is part of the phenomenon called “The Great Resignation”, in which millions of people leave their jobs because they do not adapt to his life style.
Women like entrepreneurship because it gives them financial independence, says the same study. But also because it allows them to be creative, and the more creativity they can apply to their work, the happier they feel. While male entrepreneurship is associated with terms such as vision, disruption, and strategy, female entrepreneurship is more associated with terms such as community, collaboration, and service. All values that came to the fore with the pandemic, and not only because social commerce increased in these months but also because the collaborative leadership model is the one that obtained the best results in handling the crisis.
Financing is not the only challenge
Currently, companies led by women raise a scant 2% of venture capital , although it is proven that diverse teams generate better returns and that female entrepreneurship is the engine of reactivation of the post-pandemic economy.
But access to capital is not the only challenge women face when it comes to entrepreneurship. According to the Veuve Clicquot study , women lack female references in the area. Although Bumble , FIGS and Rent the Runway , all female-led companies, went public between 2020 and 2021, there is still a long way to go.
That is why we launched Skirt the Rules , a global movement that seeks to enhance the entrepreneurial power of women. It is a virtual community that shares valuable contacts and content, alliances, events, workshops and essential help when starting a business. Skirt the Rules was designed as a space where you can display the skills of women: effective communication, the power of empathy and the principle of community. Because women know that our difference is to do together with others , and that the more extensive our network is, the more visibility our capacities will have when raising capital. Through SheWorks! and Skirt the Rules, we seek to transform the industry to facilitate flexible work opportunities for millions of women around the world.
My 6 golden rules to undertake
I am a woman and an entrepreneur. TransparentBusiness , the remote work management platform that announced its $ 1 billion valuation in 2020, has become one of the few unicorns led by a woman. Through a financing strategy called equity crowdfunding , which allows investment to be opened to private capital without having to resort to an investment fund, we were able to capitalize and in turn was the inspiration to launch Unicorn Hunters , the series of businesses that seeks to democratize access to the wealth for entrepreneurs around the world.
I want to take advantage of the International Women’s Entrepreneur Day to share other lessons that I learned on the path of entrepreneurship.
- Think differently : entrepreneurship is about finding a passion and transforming it into an idea of impact. It is a strenuous path that is sustained because it is based on something that you really like to do. I am convinced that the key to the financial success of an enterprise lies in the fact that the objective is not set on making money but on its social, economic and environmental impact (#people, #profit and #planet).
- Think big : the second is to understand that what one always dreamed of is far beyond our fears. Fears are overcome by dreaming big, because the only limitations are the ones we put on ourselves. Fears are overcome when we convince ourselves that the most important opinion is the one I have of my project.
- Find your voice and build your narrative : After finding the business idea, an entrepreneur has to work on her narrative and think about the platforms she will use to amplify her message. It is important to offer something of value to the audience. A true message, and through the correct channels, transmits credibility.
- Build your tribe : to be successful, it is key to create relationships and social capital. Business is a contact sport: you have to build relationships upwards, with mentors or sponsors who help us to position our brand, but also downwards, to make our business known.
- Learn to raise capital: in financing, women historically get less money than men, but we also ask for less. If you are a woman in search of financing, I advise you to learn to ask: to prepare yourself until you feel capable of negotiating the best for your venture, and to learn to say no when the offer does not convince you.
- Make your own rules : and I’m not talking about breaking them but about being creative, finding a way, putting our ingenuity at the service of our needs and solving challenges one by one, as we do every day. Entrepreneurship requires ingenuity. The concept “Skirt the Rules” has a double meaning: that of “putting a skirt on the rules” and the metaphorical one, that of looking for their return without breaking them to use them in favor and not as limitations.
In a world whose rules do not always favor us, women often have to create our path. But we have technology in our favor and, with it, the opportunity to connect with other entrepreneurs and scale our project to other markets, in record time.