WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP: THE NETWORK OF CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE International Conference on Intellectual Property for Women in Science and Business for Economic Development
“ Forget China, India and the internet: economic growth is driven by women” ( The Economist – 12 April 2006 ) Goldman Sachs, the leading investment bank, is one of those now using the term “womenomics” to sum up the force that women represent as guarantors of growth. Harvard Business Review quotes: “Talent management: there’s not hotter topic in HBS’s portfolio, for the obvious, overwhelming reason that in the knowledge economy of the 21° century will always be the scarcest of scarce resources” Women represent: talent, energy, management capacity and connection capacities (“Why women mean business” – Paris…)
<ul><li>Evaluation on policy: promotion of women innovators and entrepreneurship </li></ul><ul><li>(submitted by the E E C (GHK, Technopolis) to the DG Enterprise on the 25th July 2008) </li></ul><ul><li>Only 8.3% of patents awarded by the European Patent Office are awarded to women </li></ul><ul><li>Only 20.3% of businesses started with venture capital belong to female entrepreneurs </li></ul><ul><li>Innovation of product: 13.9% of women compared to 14.5% of men; of process: 4.1% of women compared to 7.8% of men; of organization: 5.2% of women compared to 6.5% of men; of marketing: 9.1% of women compared to 10.45% of men. </li></ul>
<ul><li>DATA ON WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS IN SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY </li></ul><ul><li>Only 5% - 15% of high tech business is owned by women, while </li></ul><ul><li>More than in other sectors women entrepreneurs in this business </li></ul><ul><li>face: </li></ul><ul><li>contextual obstacles – science & technology are concepts mainly </li></ul><ul><li>associated with men; </li></ul><ul><li>economic obstacles – difficulties in accessing finance; </li></ul><ul><li>soft obstacles – lack of access to relevant technical, scientific and </li></ul><ul><li>business networks. </li></ul>Women in high growth areas tend to be older and more educated, but they lack female role models, access to subtsantial economic resources as venture capital and likewise difficulties in becoming credible entrepreneurs.
Women Entrepreneurs in Business and Decision Making (Eurochambres survey August 2004) The obstacles that most women face in the day to day running of their business are similar to those they encountered when starting a business. Liquidities and financial questions come first again at 49.9%, closely followed by combining work and family life at 45.0%. The third biggest obstacle for the respondents is the lack of time for training, or upgrading their skills (27.7%). The number of women facing no problems in the daily running of their businesses is lower than for the start up period, as 12.3 % declared not facing any obstacles.
The network of the Chambers of Commerce either at European and at national level has set up significant initiatives to support women entrepreneurs. At European level EUROCHAMBRES (European association of 41 national Chambers of Commerce and Industry – 15 million member enterprises) has constituted a formal Women Network addressing the specific needs of working women and of women entrepreneurs. Concrete projects : “ CHASE” - CHambers Against Stereotypes in Employment (2005) - has investigated gender stereotypes that hinder women from becoming entrepreneurs or working in typical “male” jobs; “ Women in Business and in Decision Making” - initiatives that the different Chambers have implemented and actively pursued in favor of women entrepreneurship, mainly: enterprise start-ups, access to finance, and the reconciliation of work and family.
In 1999, Unioncamere signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Industry, which gave birth to the creation of the Committees for the Promotion of Women Entrepreneurship. So far, 100 local Chambers have set up the Committees for the promotion of women entrepreneurship, which have become the instruments for putting into practice law 215/92 for the internationalization of enterprises, the creation and coordination of the Committees, and the development and monitoring of regional programs for female enterprises. The Italian Network of Chambers of Commerce
A positive sign of womens‘ entrepreneurship in Italy: in 2008 women entrepreneurs have reached a total number of 1.243.824 (+ 0,45% compared to 2007). Some data in the Italian panorama of women entrepreneurship 0,45 5.523 100,0 24,1 1.243.824 5.169.084 TOTALE 15,30 1.048 -- -- 7.907 34 Non-classifies companies 1,25 1.392 9,0 49,2 112.431 228.678 Other social & public services 4,86 484 0,8 42,2 10.451 24.751 Health and Social Services 2,37 142 0,5 32,6 6.129 18.825 Education 4,46 6.132 11,5 25,0 143.527 575.144 Real estate, ICT, R&D 3,50 819 2,0 23,6 24.775 104.864 Financial intermediaries 9,33 2.115 1,9 12,4 23.183 186.734 Transport & Communication 1,68 1.480 7,2 33,7 89.494 265.715 Restaurants -0,50 -1.947 31,2 27,5 387.770 1.407.946 Trade 6,53 2.851 3,7 5,9 46.483 782.847 Constructions 15,94 40 0,0 8,2 291 3.558 Energy -0,60 -767 10,1 20,2 126.115 623.279 Manufactures -0,67 -3 0,0 11,5 446 3.895 Mines 0,20 3 0,1 12,9 1.488 11.509 Fisheries -2,37 -6.394 21,2 29,3 263.334 897.637 Agricolture Var. % June 2008/ June 2007 Ratio June 2008 - June 2007 Women companies of one sector on the total of the sectors Companies owned by women/total of companies Companies owned by women Total number of companies
Innovative actions of the Italian Network of Women Committees at the Chambers of Commerce The network of the Chambers has proposed a legislative decree to the Parliament on the promotion of equal opportunities within the Chambers‘ board. Part of the funds of the Chamber will be dedicated to the institution of a „ womens‘ entrepreneurship counter“ From the 30th of June to the 15th of July there will be organized an itinerant rally „ The Tour of Italy of women entrepreneurs“, which will deal with: „innovation and creativity“, „financing“, „work & life balance“.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION ! Marilena Berardo Head Office – Italian Chamber of Commerce for Switzerland Rue du Cendrier, 12-14 1211 Geneva Tel.: 022 9068595, fax: 022 9068599 E-mail: [email_address]
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