Survey: Female entrepreneurs increasingly optimistic about future
Published 2:48 pm, Thursday, September 21, 2017
It’s not a surprise that female entrepreneurs in the U.S. view the future of their careers with optimism, said Greenwich-based software developer Michal Finegold of a recently published survey.
Per an annual study of more than 1,000 small-business owners from across the country, the 2017 Bank of America Women Business Owner Spotlight depicts a bright future for women navigating small-business ownership. The results include more than 65 percent of responders answering they believe there will be more small businesses run by women than men within the next 20 years.
And despite working long hours every week, nearly 80 percent said they feel they’ve achieved satisfactory work-life balance.
“Women who are business owners are disproportionately optimistic, because a lot of us (started businesses) because we thought we could have a better balance by running a business ourselves,” Finegold said. “It’s not that we’re doing less work, but we’re focused on accomplishing tasks rather than getting face time in an office.”
Before launching several animation apps with her company Shmonster, Finegold traveled the world to spend months on movie sets for work. Since having her daughter, Finegold is less inclined to spend time away from home, which is partially why she decided to start her own venture.
“Having her around makes it really important what I spend my time on, so it’s more important that my work is meaningful,” Finegold said. “Once you have a kid, you don’t want to spend time away unless you’re pursuing your dream.”
The fate of female entrepreneurs has changed dramatically in the last 20 years, Jill Calabrese Bain, Bank of America’s head of small business sales for merchant services, told Hearst Connecticut Media.
“The biggest headline from this survey is that women are expecting big things in the next 20 years,” she said, adding 2017 marks a “transformative period in small business for women.”
Other favorable findings from the Bank of America study include that 80 percent of female entrepreneurs believe women will comprise an equal amount of roles as men in STEM fields within the next few decades and that more than 60 percent believe their wages will soon match that of their male counterparts.
Overall, the study depicts women feeling “positive and cautiously optimistic all at the same time,” Calabrese Bain said.
The glass ceiling
When it comes to whether the surveyed female business owners plan to grow their business soon, results were mixed with only about half saying they may, which compares to 60 percent reporting growth plans last year.
“Their vision is positive but they still have some concerns,” said Jennifer Openshaw, who’s launched and sold a financial organization and has long offered commentary on women and monetary topics. “This underscores the need to invest in women and start earlier,” she said.
This year, Openshaw launched Girls With Impact, a program teaching business and leadership skills to teenage girls. “It’s great to have a vision for women in business, but the real question is how will we equip the next generation to get there and to change the trajectory for all capable women,” she said.
It’s important to note, Openshaw added, that many women are steered into running their own small businesses because they “bumped up against the glass ceiling in the corporate world.”
How women’s positive attitudes about the future will translate to changes in the business world is yet to be seen, Calabrese Bain said, but she is confident that “women are going to be greater force to be reckoned with over next 20 years.”
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