Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs and How to Overcome Them – by Fatima Williams

Women Entrepreneurs around the world face major challenges but many are inspiring us to shape the future of global business. They show the value of extending a helping hand to others. They support fellow women to rise together rather than looking at them as rivals. They are instrumental in building positivity and in establishing the Golden Era of Women Entrepreneurship.

women entrepreneurs

In the US, women now make up 40 % of new entrepreneurs in the US. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) found 126 million women starting or running businesses, and 98 million operating established (over three and a half years) businesses. That’s 224 million women impacting the global economy — and this survey counts only 67 of the 188 countries recognized by the World Bank.

In the 40 economies participating in the sweeping Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey in both 2011 and 2016, women’s entrepreneurship rates rose by 13 % on average. However, the overall Rate of New Entrepreneurs decreased for both men and women from 2015 to 2016. The Rate of New Entrepreneurs decreased to 0.23 % (230 out of 100,000) for women.

Overall, men are more likely to start businesses each month than the women, which holds in all reported years. The figures have only seen a drop for women. Yet, in UAE, women are leading entrepreneurship. Nabbesh Baz, one of the leading women entrepreneurs founded Nabbesh.com, the first online freelance marketplace in the Middle East and North Africa region in 2012. Nabbesh says, “Perseverance is the key if you want to make it to the finish line”.

A new era of creating something more meaningful, substantial and rewarding as more come forward to turn their ideas into triumphant business models. “According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, women contribute nearly half of the UAE’s SME sector. The changing emphasis on a woman’s role in business has garnered increasing recognition in recent years”. (Information source – Gulf News)

In 2017, the UAE Gender Balance Council was created. The Council boosts efforts to evolve and enhance the role of women as key partners in building the future of the nation. In addition to the Council, there are other organizations that have been supportive in encouraging a modern entrepreneurial spirit, such as Entrepreneurs’ Organization, The Female Network, and Dubai Women’s Business Council.

The rise of women in leadership roles shows the impact they’ve made in shaping global business. Yet, women in the Middle East still have substantial challenges. Only 7.6 % of women are early-stage entrepreneurs compared to 11.8 % of men. (Information source – Gulf News)

The challenges that these women entrepreneurs faced in 2017, as do women worldwide are as follows.

Access to funding

Female entrepreneurs start companies with 50% less capital than male entrepreneurs, according to Access to Capital by High-Growth Women-Owned Businesses, research commissioned by the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC).

Balancing business and family life

Women have less support when to comes to having a family and being an entrepreneur. High childcare costs push or slow down aspiring entrepreneurs. Research suggests that more women with partners/spouses are able to ride the ups and downs that come with having one’s own business than those who are single. Yet, single women can focus exclusively on marketing and growing their businesses. But at the end of the day, balancing business and family life is challenging for both. This is one of the reasons why many women return to corporate life after giving entrepreneurship a shot.

Attitudes towards professional women

The mindset of the 17th century still lurks in the heads of some men and women alike. They don’t give women the benefit of the doubt that they can do the same job as good or better than their male counterparts. “One of the key problems for women taking up leadership positions, warns Katie Lee, Managing Director of communications agency Gravity Road, is that “we are expected to earn respect when we are appointed, whereas men get respected because they have been appointed. That can be frustrating.”


Women entrepreneurs belief about their own competences are influenced by various factors in their environment. The idea they have about the kind of person they are is influenced by the idea of what they can be? According to self-perception theory, people examine two things when making decisions about the cause of their own behavior. First, the behavior itself and Second, the environmental forces working on the individual.

Lack of support and awareness

Women with lack of support from family or fellow entrepreneurs fear failure. Self-doubt becomes a major block on their journey to entrepreneurship. The Fear of failure is influenced by intrinsic personality traits, as well as by environmental forces, societal norms and regulations. In addition, women often lack contact with successful entrepreneurial role models whom they can turn to for support and business advice.

Next Steps

Women entrepreneurs all over the world must share their success stories and spread awareness on what worked for them.
In 2017, I observed an amazing group of women online and called upon few to share their valuable thoughts.

Deb Helfrich, Soulpreneur Strategist and Director of Strategic Partnerships at Mastering Mindfulness® proprietary E-Learning platform: Marketing is the biggest challenge ahead. It is extremely difficult for people who want to cultivate small, collaborative networks to do so, and to create an authentic signal within the noise of business as usual. She shares that women are inherent about connections and taking care of communities and true human well being. She advises us to acknowledge the challenges in our society realistically and work towards actively engaging in robust ways with people who are outside our social bubbles. For more information, visit her website www.insightsoccur.com.

Sarah Elkins, Creator and Host of No Longer Virtual, a two-day conference with the theme “connecting beyond the keyboard”
She found that the best way to overcome challenges include…
– Finding and implementing – and consistently using – tools to keep business better organized.
– Building a client base while keeping current clients satisfied and returning.
– Pacing yourself so you don’t  get overwhelmed and anxious.

Mary Schaefer, SHRM-CP, PHR, an Advocate for More Humanity at Work.
 She advises us …
– To create more successful and sustainable organizations through what makes us human. To express ourselves “fully, compassionately, and without apology.”
– To write down our thoughts regularly, including aspirations and vision for ourselves and the business. This helps us prioritize and focus.

Aurorasa Sima, an experienced Emotional Intelligence trainer and coach. 
Her upcoming  comprehensive self-coaching course explores and invents/re-invents strategies for addressing the challenges in 2018 including…
– Finding more and greater ways to help people transform who have a history of not achieving much with training
– Not settling for mediocre when she is in a time crunch. Not to compromise too much and to keep a deadline.

Lynda Spiegel founder of Rising Stars Resumes.
Her evergreen challenge is to keep up with her field so that the guidance she gives her clients remains on point. Knowledge sharing and learning is what drives her to succeed. Constantly learning and exploring our experiences is the best way there is.

Zeta Yarwood Executive Coach, an award-winning career coach in the UAE.
Time management and focus will be her biggest challenge in 2018. She plans to use strategic planning to help with focus.

Heather R. Younger, J.D, Best-Selling Author: The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty at Customer Fanatix.
She plans to overcome her biggest challenges in 2018 with these strategies…
– Remain confident and not self-sabotage.
– Remain focused in 2018 based on her long-term plan.
– Continue to give the right amount of time to our children while focusing on growing the business.

Here’s what you can do:.\

  • Recognize and embrace your true potential as entrepreneurs and Believe in Yourself.
  • Inspire more women to become entrepreneurs. Give birth to a more productive and economically uplifted society.
  • Approach all the entrepreneurial women and men around you for support. Rather than see women as rivals, men should accept and work with women.
  • Your biggest asset is you. Build a supportive network, shape business relationships, and find an incredible mentor.
  • Facilitate events that bring entrepreneurs together to learn and connect.
  • Stop pleasing others and live up to your own expectations. Flout social expectations.
  • Give yourself the credit you deserve. We are well known to improve organizational effectiveness, so don’t hesitate to shine and improve women entrepreneurial effectiveness.

Once you believe in yourself and what your putting forward to the world people will automatically believe in you. The challenge is to be authenticity and engage people with your actions and words. Ambition, adaptability, and resilience are key factors of entrepreneurial success. Failure is an inevitable journey to success. We must all learn to be confident and realize that failure is just a learning curve. As an entrepreneur you must be resilient and courageous.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.