Why raising more visibility for women-led businesses matters

The fact is women continue to be a rising force in business. They are not only founding more businesses than ever before but doing so at twice the rate of men.  According to The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2014, 200 million women globally have started businesses and by 2022, forecasts suggest that one billion women are set to enter the mainstream economy as employers, producers and entrepreneurs.

What’s more, women are proving that their businesses, like their  male counterparts, can drive healthy financial returns. A fact, supported by research conducted by the hedge fund Quantopian which revealed that women-led companies outperformed their peers three to one in the S&P 500.

Yet, women remain largely under-represented in traditional media. And still their contribution to our economies as business owners and leaders go largely unrecognised by mainstream news and media. A recent report by The Global Media Monitoring Project 2015, revealed that when the focus is the economy only five per cent of news stories feature or center on women. In addition, only 26 per cent of total news coverage in newspapers, radio and television combined featured women in 2015. And online, the story isn’t different for traditional media coverage either with a mere 24 per cent of Internet news stories and news media tweets featuring women. Alarmingly,  general media representation of women has shown no signs of growth or improvement since 2010.

These statistics highlight an inherent bias in media. One we are all to aware of.  While the lack of  access to funding for women led-business has occupied much of the debate surrounding women’s entrepreneurial potential in recent years and has been attributed to limiting their ability to grow and succeed - the same can be said for the lack of coverage and visibility which is equally hurting the growth potential of women-led businesses. One could argue that we are faced with a chicken and egg dilemma. What comes first? Visibility or Funding? Visibility is without a doubt instrumental in raising the profile of women ventures and it can equally serve as an inspiration to others. Because as the saying goes: "You cannot be what you cannot see". Women are indeed beating all odds and building thriving companies worldwide. And it’s about time we recognise that female entrepreneurship is no longer just a gender issue. It is an economic one.

 

So how can 'we' help shift the balance and close this visibility gap?

How can we champion more visibility for female-led ventures worldwide? How can we harness the power of the crowd and social amplification to enable female-led enterprises with access to a wider network of supporters beyond just family and friends - and help them reach broader audiences? Ultimately, how can we provide them with much needed increased exposure? We believe this can be done by harnessing the power of peer-2-peer recommendations and social amplification.

People are engaging online more than ever before and the data speaks for itself.

  • 30 billion pieces of content are shared on Facebook every month.
  • Globally, 500 million tweets are posted a day on Twitter.
  • 90 per cent of  people trust earned social media recommendations over advertising.
  • 450 million people on LinkedIn promoting their professional networks.

These statistics aren’t just big numbers, they speak to the power and influence of social amplification and peer-to-peer recommendations as a means of driving not only more awareness but purchases and sales for companies and brands currently facing limited visibility.

At The Next Billion, we are on a mission to unlock and invest in women's economic potential through entrepreneurship as a catalyst for positive impact to our local, national and global economies as well as people and the planet. We believe in leveraging the power of the ‘Crowd’ and the collaborative economy to enable the growing number of women entrepreneurs worldwide with ‘Access to growth opportunities’: Access to Finance, Access to Skills, Access to Markets and Access to Networks. But if we are truly going to make an impact, we as an industry need to tailor our platforms to meet the challenges that women face in regards to starting and sustaining businesses, worldwide. And one key obstacle remains visibility and access to networks of supporters.

Read: Mexican entrepreneurs prepare to pitch to Rich

That’s why we conceived and launched Globally Spotted. Globally Spotted was born from our deep rooted passion for championing female entrepreneurship and our burning desire to build and create a visible platform from which we could, with the help of the crowd, discover, spotlight and amplify women-led ventures from all corners of the globe. Those that all too often remain un-discovered.

Globally Spotted aims to help users discover and amplify smart, innovative and cutting-edge women-led businesses through their social networks. Because, we believe that it’s not only the right time but it’s about time we recognise the invaluable contribution that over 200 million women-owned and led-businesses make daily to our local, national and global economies as well as families and communities.

And we’d love to invite you to join us in raising  the profiles of The Next Billion women entrepreneurs, producers and employers on Globally Spotted, to put the power of our social currency to good use and start amplifying women-owned businesses with a share, a like  and a tweet. Because #itstime.

So, what will your contribution be?

Babou Olengha-Aaby & Priti Ambani

This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details. Thumbnail from gettyimages.

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