Women would be more successful in entrepreneurship when they are supported by other women

Women would be more successful in entrepreneurship when they are supported by other women

More and more women are starting their own businesses. But, for many of them, the path to entrepreneurship still remains strewn with pitfalls. Mentoring programs could remedy this problem, according to a British-American study.

The authors of this research, published in the journal Marketing Science, reached this conclusion after conducting an experiment with 930 Ugandan entrepreneurs, 40% of whom were women. Generally speaking, the business founders participating in this study were 31 years old and had two children. They had stopped their studies after the baccalaureate (or an equivalent diploma), or they had continued in higher education.

The volunteers were randomly divided into two groups, one control and the other called “treatment”. The individuals in this second group benefited from the support of a mentor with more experience in the business world. The researchers wanted to determine whether entrepreneurs benefited from this support from an experienced profile.

It is clear that this is the case. The mentors were of great help to the study participants, although their impact was most significant on women entrepreneurs. The latter saw their turnover increase by 32%, on average, when they were followed by a mentor.

Strong gender disparities in entrepreneurship

However, this phenomenon is correlated with the gender of the mentor. Indeed, women entrepreneurs saw their performance improve when they were supported by a more experienced professional. “Relationships between female mentors and mentees are characterized by more positive engagement“, we can read in the study.

This can be explained by the fact that female mentors have undoubtedly gone through the same difficulties as the women entrepreneurs they support. They know the levers to pull to overcome them and to shape their own path in a professional world, which still remains too hostile to business creators.

Indeed, the entrepreneurial ecosystem remains marked by strong disparities between genders. Women tend to embark on the entrepreneurial adventure later than men because they are driven by the need to prove themselves on the job market before becoming their own bosses. In France, 44% of working women wait until they have acquired more than ten years of professional experience before setting up their own company, according to a study carried out by the Roland Berger agency, in collaboration with WILLA and France Digitale. In comparison, only a quarter of men wait as long.

Overcome limiting beliefs

To make the world of entrepreneurship more equal, it is important that women are surrounded by mentors who help them take responsibility and overcome their own limiting beliefs. “Ultimately, we found that to increase women entrepreneurs’ chances of success, it is promising to connect them with other women entrepreneurs“, notes Pradeep Chintagunta, one of the co-signatories of the study, in a press release.

Exclusively female business networks exist for this purpose, some even bringing together thousands of members. Their role should not be underestimated in the world of entrepreneurship, but more generally in the world of work.