Women Entrepreneurs : The RelyLocal Anomaly

Oct 26

I was flipping through my latest copy of The Week this morning and came across a snippet from Scott Shane’s article in The American, Why Are There So Few Female Entrepreneurs? The article is based on a recent report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showing that women are 60 percent less likely to start a business than their male counterparts. One of the surprising finds was that this hasn’t changed at all since the original study in 1993. Women simply aren’t getting into business for themselves. So they say.

My initial reaction was, “That’s crazy! I actually know many more women who own their own businesses than men!” (salon owners, bakery owners, doctors, dog walkers – you name it!) But then I got online and read the full article which formed my second reaction, “No wonder we have so many fantastic women launching RelyLocal in their areas!”

First, the politically correct reason: Women don’t have access to the same education and capital needed to found a business. The study actually showed that this was statistically a myth. However, it doesn’t matter, because we have gone out of our way to develop the RelyLocal business and campaign model to be as simple (education) and low-risk (very little capital needed) as possible. Perceived obstacle – removed!

Second, what appears to be the more accurate reason, yet politically incorrect reason: Women simply aren’t as interested in starting their own business and this preference emerges very early (prior to entering the workforce). While the reasons for this preference aren’t explicitly laid out in the study, one might assume that it goes back to two things, stereotypical security (either on the “mommy” track, or working for someone) or lack of interest in a business model that they can become passionate about, building a career around. Again, this is where I think RelyLocal strikes a chord with many women entrepreneurs – they are excited to become an active leader in their communities!

In the last ten months, a little over 100 RelyLocal campaigns have been launched (or in the process thereof), and we are absolutely proud and excited to share that 45 of them are lead by women entrepreneurs – more than 30% above the national average for women starting their own businesses. We soon expect for women to be the majority of RelyLocal leaders across the U.S.. How exciting is that?

Post Update: I almost forgot, check out how one woman stood in the face of disaster to inspire her community with hope and resolve.

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