On this year’s International Women’s Day, I’d like to reflect on how we can encourage women to speak up, be heard, and support each other. The #metoo movement has brought to light countless examples of abuse, mistreatment and harassment, but if there is one positive glimmer out of all that is being shared, it’s a sense of solidarity and empowerment.
I believe that entrepreneurship can be a path to channeling that that energy and creating positive outcomes. The time is now to step up and speak out. The time is now to take control of your own destiny. Stop saying “I’m sorry” and start saying “I’m ready to make a difference.”
I believe that sometimes making a difference is being your own boss. In my role as Director of MIT’s educational accelerator program, delta v, I work every day with both female and male student entrepreneurs. Some of these students have ideas that may change the world someday, but even more important is their sense of pride and accomplishment when they can make decisions that shape their own direction and have a positive impact on other people.
Maybe being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. But, if and when you are in a position to define your own path, you have turned the tables and now have control. You can help not only yourself, but others.
Female Entrepreneurs Make a Difference
This infographic from Entrepreneur on female entrepreneurship shows that women are founding companies at historic rates with more than 9 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. today. These businesses will provide over 5 million jobs this year. Interestingly, businesses with a woman on the executive team are also more likely to have significantly higher valuations (64% higher) at Series A. These statistics demonstrate that women are creating new models of leadership, and that is hopefully changing the balance of power.
How to Get Started
Now is the time to be an entrepreneur, yet the hardest thing about entrepreneurship is getting started. Newton’s first law states an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon by an external force – and this is true for entrepreneurship as well. So, you need to give yourself a push. For inspiration, here are some stories of female entrepreneurs gaining ground at MIT.
Find the focus that is right for you. Entrepreneurship for small and medium enterprises (i.e. opening your own business in an established industry, such as a florist, hair salon, or consultant) is different than innovation-driven entrepreneurship (i.e. the next “big idea”, inventing something new) but they both let you be your own boss.
Read the full post at BostIinno
Trish Cotter is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at MIT and Director of the Global Founders’ Skills Accelerator (GFSA) at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship.