Uplifting women, uplifting economies
- “Try naming five famous female entrepreneurs that you know in five seconds,” said Penny Choo, Co-founder & Managing Director of 500-backed e-gifting platform BloomThis.
- Did you struggle? “It’s okay,” Penny added. “Because globally only 4 in 10 entrepreneurs are female. In Malaysia, the figure is about 2 in 10.”
- So, against the odds, how can women entrepreneurs rise and thrive in the startup world? Penny offered five tips.
- Refuse to be intimidated. Penny believes that all founders, men or women, need to recognize that they are qualified with different backgrounds and strengths. “When you feel small, then you act small. When you feel confident, your actions will follow too,” she added.
- Grow boldly into high-value segments. A study by International Finance Corporation (IFC) found that although women comprise half of the active e-commerce vendors in Southeast Asia, they tend to run smaller scale businesses in high-competition, low-value segments. Investing in women has the potential to add billions of dollars in e-commerce in Southeast Asia. Which brings us to the next point…
- Get trained. Even the most experienced companies need to keep updated with the latest skills and technology to stay competitive. “What do you or your team need to level up your game?” Penny asked.
- Leverage entrepreneur groups for support. Drawing from her own experience, Penny said, “For a female entrepreneur trying to get your startup going, one of the best ways to get noticed and support is to network with other female founders.”
- Increase inclusive policies and funding. The role women play in economic development will benefit organizations and the economy. In fact, studies have shown that women-run businesses deliver higher revenues and returns. That said, Penny added that she is not for tokenism, but rather, grants and opportunities should be given according to merit.
- Read the full piece here.