Blog World tour of women’s entrepreneurship in 5 days
World tour of women’s entrepreneurship in 5 days

World tour of women’s entrepreneurship in 5 days

Beirut, Berlin, Montevideo, Hanoi, New York: aside from distance, what separates – or connects – these metropolises in terms of female entrepreneurship? Answers gained by pooling the knowledge of five of our Economic and Commercial Attachés based abroad is inspiring us, here in Brussels! 

To mark this International Women’s Month, between 8 and 12 March published a series of 5 articles on female entrepreneurship, looking at the situation for those born in Lebanon, the United StatesUruguayVietnam  andGermany.

From patriarchal societies to the ongoing introduction of new support programmes, we see how womenall over the world are, slowly but surely, carving out a place for themselves in the world of business.

The current state of women’s entrepreneurship

While South America is the global region with the highest proportion of female entrepreneurs,Vietnam is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of female CEOs, rising from 15% in 2018 to 20% in 2019.  

Female entrepreneurship in the United States and Germany is reflected by several female (and feminist) personalities: Angela Merkel, Oprah Winfrey, Kamala Harris and Beyonce to name but a few.

Meanwhile, in Lebanon, women enjoy greater rights and freedoms than in other Middle Eastern countries.

Despite this progress, all too often women in business still face obstacles from a patriarchal society that believes a women’s role is to manage the household, not a company.

The major obstacles to entrepreneurship

  • In Lebanon, women are paid 22% less than men for equal work.
  • In the United States, just a fifth of all businesses are owned by women, and they are generally smaller than those owned by men.
  • In Uruguay, only 8% of female entrepreneurs launch their business in the industrial sector.
  • In Vietnam, social convention dictates that the primary role of Vietnamese women is to raise a family.
  • In Germany, the startup culture is overwhelmingly male-dominated, and the balance between work and family life remains a major challenge. They call it “Doppelbelastung”(double burden).

Tools and solutions to overcome these challenges

In recent years, many public and private sector initiatives have been launched, offering female entrepreneurs support and financial aid.

  • In Germany, several clusters and associations have developed to support female entrepreneurs on various levels. Notable examples include Startseite | Gründerinnenportal, the female entrepreneurship portal, and loan schemes such as Mikrokreditfonds Deutschland and the Mikromezzaninfonds.
  • In Lebanon, several private and/or international initiatives have been launched in this area. These include: the Lebanese League for Women in Business
  • In the United States, New York state has introduced the New York Forward Loan Fund, a tax incentive aimed at minorities and small businesses.
  • In Uruguay,the “8M” programme, from the Ministry of Industry, offers up to 1.5 million Uruguayan pesos (roughly €28,300) to projects promoting development and productive and financial self-sufficiency. Since 2009, over 94 projects have obtained funding.
  • Finally, in Hanoi, the government has launched a project to support women starting their own businesses, which runs from 2017-2025. 

Want to launch your own business, in Brussels or beyond? 

Join Women in Business our dedicated network for female entrepreneurs in Brussels, take advantage of our range of free services in your chosen sector or get in touch with our ECAs worldwide!

Nada Abdul Rahim (BRU)

Economic and commercial attaché | Lebanon - Jordan

+961 1 97 60 08

Immeuble Azarieh - block A
Rue Emir Béchir - 10ème étage
B.P. 11-9555
Riad El Solh 1107 2290 - Beyrouth

Jimena Villar (BRU)

Economic and commercial attaché | Uruguay - Paraguay

+598 2 628 07 28

1248, Dr Luis A. de Herrera, Ofic. 714
C.P. 11300 Montevideo - Uruguay

Kathlijn Fruithof (BRU)

Economic and commercial attaché | United States (New-York + Bahamas)

T. +1 212-399-8522 +1 646 745-0346

885 Second Avenue, 41st Floor
New York, NY 10017 USA

Tran Thi Hien (BRU)

Economic and commercial attaché | Vietnam

+84 4 39 34 61 82

Somerset Grand Hanoi
Offices Building, 9th Floor
49 Hai Ba Trung Street
Hoan Kiem District

Nikola Winzler (BRU)

Economic and commercial attaché | Germany (Berlin - Hamburg)

+ 49 30 20 65 86 406

Jaegerstrasse 52-53
D-10117 Berlin

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