Marie Curie, Coco Chanel, Valentina Tereshkova and Margaret Thatcher, Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi, Virginia Rometty and Marissa Meyer are names of women who have shaped our history and continue to do so. They revolutionized the conception of an entrepreneur and contribute to a more equitable globalization process. In this post, I share with you the main conclusions about the female entrepreneur worldwide, those being abstracted from the last Women’s Entrepreneurship Report from 2016/1017 which was elaborated by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

The female entrepreneur worldwide

The Women’s Entrepreneurship Report – (GEM)

What are the advantages of being a female entrepreneur?  Financial independence, access to managerial positions, decision-making, flexibility and acknowledgment among others. In other words, entrepreneurship allows access to a new range of opportunities to all the professional women that want their ideas to be heard.

Throughout the information published in the Women’s Entrepreneurship Report 2016/2017, where it analyzed the female entrepreneur’s impact on the world, their positive impact in regards to the sector is reaffirmed.

Women represent more than 40% of the working population in most countries, yet there is still a significantly noticeable gender gap in countries like India, Asia or Africa. Even so, the data is positive: around 126 million women run their own business and 98 million have managerial positions.

The female entrepreneur worldwide map

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor

In the graphic shown above, you can see the scope of female entrepreneur’s participation throughout the seventy-four countries, generally analyzed during the 2015/2016 GEM’s report. Although there is still no graphical representation for the current report (2016/2017), numbers indicate a gradual increase in countries such as Canada, Latin America, the southeast of Asia and some areas of Africa.

Interestingly enough, countries with a slower economic development show higher numbers of female entrepreneurship. This is mainly due to the necessity of income and to get a job in labor markets where they have virtually no access. In the top developed economies, this tendency decreases.

On the other hand, other related aspects of the industry, the total entrepreneurship activity (TEA), age, education levels, growth expectation and innovation are also analyzed. Some important conclusions are:


Firstly, sales and retail represent 60% of female business activity, except in innovation-oriented economies, in which the percentage notably decreases. Nevertheless, it is infrequent to find female entrepreneurs in sectors such as the information and communication technology sector (less than 2%). Generally speaking, the feminine influence is clustered in sectors like Health, Government, Education and Social Services, regardless of the economies’ development situation.

Total Entrepreneurship Activity

The Total Entrepreneurship Activity index has increased 10% in the last two years, narrowing the gender gap by 5%. If the sixty-three countries analyzed in this part of the report are considered, there is a 3% increase in countries like Germany, Jordan, Italy, and France as opposed to a 37% increase in Senegal.

Even though there is no unique profile of the female entrepreneur, the main motivations that lead them to entrepreneurship are, the necessity of financial support or an improvement of their current situation (a lot of women blend their actual jobs with business projects for themselves), the market opportunities in which they operate or want to get in and lastly, a combination of both.

Age range, education level, growth and innovation

The data points out that the age range in which entrepreneur participation is higher is in women between 25-34 years old (especially in technological sectors) and in women between 35-44 years old. The great majority of them have at least a college degree and, in the concrete case of Europe, 22% of female entrepreneurs have higher education levels than male entrepreneurs. Lastly, to highlight that in innovation oriented economies, the percentage of women that launch a business is minor, being two thirds lower in comparison to men.

Although percentages indicate a steady growth, there is still a way to go in regards to sectors or countries in order to break the famous “glass ceiling”. Talent, skills or an analytic character are essential to the economic and social growth of a community, to face globalization challenges. Hence, there is no longer a question regarding the role that women play in contributing to global development.

As Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook would say “We’ve got to get women to sit at the table”.

If you would like to know more about entrepreneurship you can find more information here.