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A recent article we found discussed how social enterprise ventures attract woman more so then other business entrepreneurship models. A recent UK study found that 38% of social venture are led by woman, which more than doubles the amount of woman leading traditional businesses. Why could this be?

According to the article, there are a few characteristics that allow woman to succeed in launching a social enterprise:

1.     Approach to risk and growth: While men tend to take more risks, thereby focusing on more profitable ventures, women seek out opportunities to gain work-life balance, while taking on less risk. Social enterprises allow family-friendly benefits, such as flexi-hours, job sharing and remote working.

2.     Accessing finance: “According to studies, almost half of women (45%) report access to finance as a barrier to launching an enterprise, compared with 36% of men. Male entrepreneurs are more inclined towards seeking investment externally by approaching venture capitalists or banks, which results in acquiring more capital to finance their businesses. Venture capital continues to be male-dominated, with venture capitalists investing primarily in tech-based firms, which are less likely to be founded by women. Women launch their businesses with significantly smaller amounts of capital than men and prefer internal sources of equity for their businesses – borrowing from family and personal networks, or relying on grants. Evidence also suggests that external funding is limited by the relatively small number of female angel and capital investors, which further precludes women from gaining capital using these avenues.”

3.     Confidence: “According to the report, women typically enter business ownership with lower levels of entrepreneurial capital overall. Combined with an absence of relevant female role models, women tend to have lower self-confidence, even compared to men with similar entrepreneurial capital.”

While we can make an argument that women have certain characteristics or a desire to do good, I think this is a generalization. Women do take risks, women do gain confidence and women do face barriers. Barriers such as financing and other resources are an issue but when it comes to social enterprise, both men and women face these hurdles. So why do more women choose to take on social enterprise?

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