PALM SPRINGS, Calif., -- Ernst & Young released the second report in its "Groundbreakers" series today during the annual Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Springs, California. The report, titled Scaling up: why women-owned businesses can recharge the global economy, details how women entrepreneurs are critical drivers of economic growth and provides resources and insights for private sector, government and NGO leaders who are seeking to close the gender gap.
Worldwide, women own or operate 25-33% of all private businesses, according to the World Bank. Ernst & Young'sScaling up report highlights key barriers to growth and unique characteristics of women-owned businesses, which historically do not reach the size and scale of businesses owned by men. The report notes several key barriers that must be overcome -- including addressing issues of employment, opportunity, lack of role models and access to financing, among others.
In the US, for example, women are starting businesses at nearly twice the rate of men -- if these women entrepreneurs started with the same capital as men, they would add 6 million jobs to the economy in 5 years, according to research from Babson College referenced in the report. The report also notes that, according to a new study by the Center for Women's Business research, women create or maintain more than 23 million jobs, or 16 percent of all US employment.
The global recession could cause the loss of 25 million jobs worldwide by the end of 2010 and could reach 57 million if the recovery doesn't achieve momentum, reports the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
"We have seen good progress with microfinance in helping women start and grow their businesses - this success is in the early stages," said Beth Brooke, Global Vice Chair of Ernst & Young. "We must focus and accelerate our efforts to scale women entrepreneurs into the global economic growth engines that they are. It's not only about gender equity, it's about job creation and growth."
The "Groundbreakers" report, which analyzes data and research from organizations including the World Bank, the OECD, and The World Economic Forum, details targeted support and initiatives that can accelerate the growth of women-owned businesses and add millions of jobs to the struggling global economy. These recommendations include:
Scaling up highlights several successful public and private initiatives geared toward helping women entrepreneurs such as: The World Bank's Gender Action Plan; American Express' OPEN initiative; Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women initiative; The Nike Foundation's investment in girl's education; Vital Voices Global Partnership; the US State Department's Pathways to Prosperity program; and Ernst & Young's Entrepreneurial Winning Women program.
The "Groundbreakers" report series can be downloaded at www.ey.com/groundbreakers.
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SOURCE Ernst & Young