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Thursday, March 24, 2011
This year I take encouragement from the fact that there were more women attending SxSW as leaders in the music, gaming and entertainment industry than ever before. I especially enjoyed the reports coming out of the workshop entitled: Breaking the Glass Ceiling -- Fearless Women Entrepreneurs. According to the event coverage from The Guardian, the event outcome hit upon a key principle that we at the SmartGirls' Way hold dear; support from other women is critical to overcoming the first hurdle of entrepreneurship -- the fear of failure.
Another hurdle that women entrepreneurs face is self-confidence in their strengths as women. A tri-University study released last week from Binghamton University, the University of Missouri and the University of Minnesota, attributes gender stereotyping as a primary barrier to women choosing entrepreneurship. The research was done to address a seemingly lack of role models among the pool of existing women entrepreneurs. Specifically, it unveiled a need to change the way entrepreneurship is discussed, portrayed and valued in dialogue with ALL genders.
And here is the Eureka moment for me. For the past few weeks, our founder has been interviewing women all over the country for the 100-100 - A SmartGirls' Way Project highlighting the success and strengths of women entrepreneurs. The issue is NOT that there aren't great role models out there confidently overcoming fears and gender barriers to build successful businesses. The issue is that not enough people know about them as a collective force, dramatically transforming the face of business in our country.
Events like the workshop at SxSW are a GREAT start to engage this collective force of role models. We want to take it to the next level by championing and celebrating the momentum and potential impact that women entrepreneurs bring to our economy.
If you know a woman entrepreneur who would be a great role model, tell us! What do you look for in a role model? What strengths do you most admire in those that have inspired you and ask yourself, what can they teach you about stepping up and launching your own type of entrepreneur?