Women’s participation in the entrepreneurial sphere has long been studied and reviewed. The inaugural Mastercard’s “Women’s Entrepreneurial Index 2016” is the latest attempt to gauge women’s progress as entrepreneurs.
The Mastercard study, which focused on 16 Asia Pacific countries, ranked New Zealand first (53.9), followed by Australia (51.7), Thailand (50.9), Philippines (50.6) and Singapore (50.1). At the bottom of the spectrum, India (33.3), Sri Lanka (32.7) and Bangladesh (27.0) received the lowest overall scores – 0 being the worst score and 100 as the best score.
The Mastercard study showed that women’s progress as entrepreneurs in two emerging markets, Thailand (3rd) and the Philippines (4th), was driven more by women’s representation in business and politics.
Women entrepreneurs in New Zealand (1st), Australia (2nd) and Singapore (5th), on the other hand, were largely driven by high opportunity to attain advanced knowledge assets and access to mainstream financial services, the Mastercard report showed.
The study also suggested that the women entrepreneurs at the top five markets (New Zealand, Australia, Thailand, Philippines and Singapore) were mostly opportunity entrepreneurs, while women entrepreneurs at the bottom markets (India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) were mostly necessity entrepreneurs.
Mastercard defines opportunity entrepreneurs as those:
• Driven by desire to progress up the social, economic or political ladder
• Supported by higher access and opportunity to pursue advanced education and gain access to financial privileges
• Less limited by cultural bias against women
• Likely to exist in societies where women’s progress in entrepreneurship has gained some grounds and underlying conditions fostering women’s entrepreneurship are favorable
Necessity entrepreneurs, meanwhile, are defined by Mastercard as those:
• Driven by need to survive
• Lack of access and opportunity to gain advanced education
• Lack of financial support/capacity
• Limited by strong cultural bias
• Likely to exist in societies where women’s progress in entrepreneurship is weak and underlying conditions fostering women’s entrepreneurship are lacking or unfavorable
The 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey showed that women were nearly one-third more likely to start businesses out of necessity than men. The 2015 GEM survey further showed that women showed equal or higher entrepreneurship rates than men in these six countries: Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Peru and Indonesia.
In the article entitled “The Global Rise of Female Entrepreneurs” published by the Harvard Business Review, Jackie VanderBrug wrote, “In emerging markets, women reinvest a staggering 90 cents of every additional dollar of income in ‘human resources’ — their families’ education, health, nutrition (compared, by the way, to 30-40% for men).”
“Think of women’s increased income and assets as a gender dividend driving family, community and country wellbeing,” Jackie VanderBrug added.