Local women entrepreneurs have the potential to boost the economy and create more than 170,000 jobs in four years' time.
Unfortunately, a new research by Facebook found that Singapore is missing out on a potential boost to the economy by not addressing the challenges facing women who want to start a business.
The study, conducted by Development Economics and YouGov on behalf of Facebook, revealed that one in two women in Singapore would like to start a business. If just 14% were empowered to start a business today, there would be 42,700 new businesses, and 178,000 jobs created – all by the end of 2021.
However, these aspiring entrepreneurs still face specific, persistent barriers, from access to finance to self-belief to readiness to set up their own business.
In Singapore, the main worry was personal financial security (42%) followed by the lack of access to finance (39%), and the level of readiness to start a business (41%). These concerns came in more strongly for women aged between 18 and 24, holding them back from taking the leap.
Interestingly, small businesses on Facebook tell a different story – 40% of Pages on Facebook are women-owned, and women-owned Pages have grown more than 60% year-on-year.
Locally, there has been a 60% increase in the number of new women-owned small to medium business Pages on Facebook in the last year.
Sandhya Devanathan, country head for Facebook Singapore said: "Small businesses already make a huge contribution to Asia’s economies. 97% of businesses are Small Medium Businesses (SMBs) and employ over half of the region’s workforce.
"If we were to harness the still largely untapped potential of women’s entrepreneurship and provide them greater support, it could lead to more jobs being created, economic growth and more diverse and representative small business communities.”
One way Singapore can encourage women entrepreneurs to take the next step is by offering support and advice financially (64%).
Aside from that, women surveyed said they are likely to benefit from support and advice on understanding, reaching and attracting customers (54%); network/ community of support and advice (49%); and practical support including business and digital skills workshops (47%).
Additionally, 76% of women surveyed also agreed that having access to the right digital tools and support would help them get their business off the ground.
Devanathan added that Facebook is committed to creating an environment that supports women entrepreneurs; working to close the gap on the untapped opportunity for millions of women; and to welcome a new era in women’s entrepreneurship for Asia.
"We remain committed and invested in our #SheMeansBusiness initiative, and will continue to work with our key partners and experts to create learning and skills opportunities to support women entrepreneurs as we strive to create a level playing field for their businesses to thrive," she said.
Photo / 123RF
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