The report, The Entrepreneurship Talent Gap released on International Girls Day, underscores the importance of early education and the opportunity for colleges and business leaders to prepare the next generation of female leaders.
“Just a fraction of women participate in venture competitions, but they’re rising to the top,” says Jennifer Openshaw, CEO of Girls with Impact, the nation’s only entrepreneurship program just for girls.
The report reveals:
1. Low participation rates – Just 17.8% women out of over 900 students on 328 teams participated over the 5 years of college venture competitions
2. Big wins -- Despite low participation rates, teams with women overwhelmingly win those competitions:
- Nine of 17 winning teams – or 53% -- had at least one woman founder on the team (two tied for third)
- 2 out of 5 of the first place teams – or 40% -- had women CEOs
- 3 out of 5 of the first place teams – 60% -- had a woman founder
3. In the Money -- Among the first, second and third place winning teams – “Money teams” who win cash prizes ($5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 respectively) – 53% had a woman founder and 35% had a woman CEO. In all, women co-founded teams reaped at least $90,000 of the $160,000 in prize money.
The research is based on data from a state university’s venture competitions, comprised of freshmen through Ph.D.
“The bottom line: it pays to have women on your team,” adds professor David Noble, executive director of the Entrepreneurship & Innovation Consortium at the University of Connecticut and co-author of the report. “Too many biases exist with the assumption that women aren’t as good as men. This is another nail in the gender bias coffin.”
The report says women face greater barriers to entering entrepreneurship: “Lower numbers of women entrepreneurs who are funded by growth investments means that women will miss out on a large amount of wealth generation opportunities.”
Download the report here for implications and more.