F♀unders Project: Inspiring Women to Leave their Mark
United States of America
Photo: Courtesy of F♀unders Project
What stops women using their talents and capacity for hard work to set up their own businesses and generate their own income? Many obstacles prevent women from realizing their full potential, and we know that the size, number and nature of these barriers vary dramatically from country to country.
No one can deny that the economic empowerment of women is one of the key drivers of global growth. Empowered women will help build larger markets, stronger societies and, most importantly, dramatically reduce the gender gap. Entrepreneurship not only puts new possibilities within the reach of women; where they are allowed to build businesses, this also strengthens both their self-confidence and their communities.
In our own lives, we have been privileged in many ways: we have had access to education, support, role models, perspectives, incentives and more. This has made it possible for us to see from our earliest years that our future held many possibilities and we understood that there was much we could achieve if we set our minds to it. Yet we also know that there are many parts of the world where women’s will to create something is neutralized by the attitudes of those around them. These are powerful influences. We asked ourselves what helps women see the possibilities beyond those attitudes.
Exploring the world of female entrepreneurship, we found the same scenario: women feel they are less capable, they fear failure, they have a harder time getting funded and reaching out to markets, they do not feel supported. However, one lack seems to stand out from the rest: there are very few female entrepreneurs who can offer role models to inspire other women to take that fundamental first step. The F♀unders project is designed to tackle this issue.
In July 2016, F♀unders researchers set out on a one-year mission to interview women entrepreneurs across five continents. We will listen to their stories, ask them about the challenges they have overcome and about what they have achieved. Their stories will build an inspiring narrative that will, hopefully, empower other women to follow their example and follow their own business dreams.
We have already talked to women in three countries – the US, Canada and Mexico – and will soon move on to Asia.
You can join us on the road. Follow us on Facebook, and tell us about the women entrepreneurs and the organizations which support women and their business aspirations who you think should be interviewed. We can all play a role to empower women.
Help Founders to tell the stories and inspiration of female entrepreneurs who have struggled, failed, persevered and yet succeeded in spite of everything. F♀unders aims to be one more among the growing number of voices that say women are capable, and that entrepreneurship is open to them too – not only out of necessity, but because it’s what they want to do.