6 Best Countries for Women Entrepreneurs
By: WE Staff
The third Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs looked at publicly available data from international organizations, including UNESCO and the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor to create a global index that tracks the progress and success of female business owners across 58 markets representing nearly 80% of the world’s female labor force. It evaluated each country based on three factors: women’s advancement outcomes like the rate of participation in the workforce, knowledge assets and financial access like financial inclusion and entrepreneurial support like cultural perceptions of female entrepreneurs.
“The results reaffirmed that women are able to make further business inroads and have higher labor force participation rates in open and vibrant markets where the support for [small and medium-sized enterprises] and ease of doing business are high,” the report found. “They are also able to draw from enabling resources, including access to capital, financial services and academic programs.”
It evaluated each country based on three factors: women’s advancement outcomes like the rate of participation in the workforce, knowledge assets and financial access like financial inclusion and entrepreneurial support like cultural perceptions of female entrepreneurs.
Based on the three factors, each country was given a score out of 100, with higher numbers indicating a better environment for female entrepreneurs. The U.S. is in the lead for the first time with a score of 70.3 because of an increased rate of women business owners in 2019 compared to 2018. New Zealand was marked by very supportive entrepreneurial conditions — around three of every 10 business owners are female. Canada is the best country for access to financial services and products and quality of governance. In contrast, the lowest ranked countries were Egypt (35.7), Bangladesh (35.9) and Algeria (39).
The researchers also ranked each country on just the percentage of female entrepreneurs, excluding the qualitative factors. They found that the rate is not always correlated to the country’s wealth. In fact, it found that Uganda, Ghana and Botswana were the top three countries for women business ownership rates because, “women in these markets are deemed as ‘necessity-driven’ entrepreneurs, spurred by a need for survival despite their lack of financial capital and access to enabling services.” They found that women are achieving gender parity for entrepreneurial activity in Ecuador, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.
United States of America
According to ACG Inc.’s Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard, United States is the number one country for business women. The United States had outperformed United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Sweden in the list. The country is constantly seen to have an imperative mix of technology, heavy business environment, education, and training.
In 2021, the female entrepreneurial activity rate in the US is 13.6% of the total female working-age population.
According to the latest woman-owned business statistics, the female entrepreneurial rate has dropped by 3% from 2020, returning to the same figure from 2019. However, the percentage of female business ownership increased to 35.6% in 2021, up by 2% from the previous year. Furthermore, the total number of women business leaders has risen from 39.8% to 41%.
Mastercard recently named New Zealand as the best country for supporting female entrepreneurship, in their Index of Women Entrepreneurs. New Zealand is well-placed to be a leader, and become the destination for women entrepreneurs looking to create global impact. New Zealand, with a very small difference by gender, fares better than most countries, and the shares for both men (75%) and women (72%) are among the highest in the OECD-Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.
The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a nearly $5-billion investment that aims to increase women owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets. In fall 2020, the Government committed to accelerating the work of the WES. In May 2020, the Government of Canada provided an additional $15 million to the WES Ecosystem Fund, enabling existing recipient organizations to provide women entrepreneurs with access to urgent business support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Israel is being ranked among the top country in the world for women entrepreneurs by credit giant Mastercard’s new annual Index of Women Entrepreneurs.
The MIWE report notes that Israel is “a prime example in terms of gender support with rapid and significant results.”
Israel was in fourth place in 2019, and its recent success can be attributed to “targeted institutional support to SMEs (small and medium enterprises)” and a concerted effort to double the number of female entrepreneurs.
Israeli women are more motivated (by 2.3 percent on average) than men to seek business opportunities and gain economic independence.
When women play a smaller role in growing the economy, we all lose out. Women make up 50% of the population and the female employment rate is over 55%. Yet until a few years ago, female-led companies comprised 7% of Enterprise Ireland’s High-Potential Start-Ups group, just like the international average.
While there is still a lot to do, supporting female entrepreneurship is paying off with continued growth of women-led start-ups. Enterprise Ireland will continue to support ambitious businesswomen because diversity drives performance, and that benefits everyone.
Gender inequality is a major issue in the Middle East and Asia, and it is being addressed by the growth of entrepreneurship. Out of the 1.46 million business owners in Taiwan, more than 36% are women, and more than 51% of those companies have been in operation for more than ten years. Taiwan is renowned for having a large number of small and medium-sized businesses, many of which employ women and contribute to the growth of the labour market and economy.