How can we boost entrepreneurship among young women?

Women are less likely than men to start a business because of many reasons. They need support to develop their ideas and to access more and better opportunities, which is why more initiatives are needed to support female entrepreneurs in their business path.


According to the OECD (2017), young women (20-29 years old) in the EU were roughly 60% more likely than young men to be self-employed. However, this figure represents a decrease in male self-employment rather than an increase in female self-employment. But why are women, especially among the youth, less likely to start a business? The answer is that they face many challenges.

Overcoming obstacles

There is a lack of role models. It has been proven that kids and adults are more likely to pursue a specific career if they have representation. There are fewer women entrepreneurs than men and, due to that, young females don’t believe they could be successful female business leaders because they lack confidence and don’t think they have the necessary skills. Social expectations also play an important role as, in many cultures, women have traditionally stayed home and spent more time with their families, so they have struggled more to enter the labour market and pursue a career because not everyone thinks they should have a job outside their homes.

They also struggle to find financing options. In many countries, gender-gap results in lower salaries for women so they can save less money and thus, they are more likely to face financial insecurity. Moreover, according to Youth Business (2021), only 2% of venture capital funding currently goes to women-led startups. Even if women have shown that they have the skills and they are more than capable to run successful businesses, many people still hesitate when they invest and give opportunities to female-led companies.


Source: Cristina Morillo on Pexels

Women are also less supported by mentors and advisors which negatively impacts their professional advancement. If they don’t have someone to help, teach and guide them, they will struggle more in their professional development. Furthermore, they find more difficulties accessing business networks, which are very helpful to find clients and build relationships that help grow businesses.

Motivating and training women

To boost female entrepreneurship, it is necessary to train them and provide them with the tools to acquire the necessary competencies to run successful businesses. The process starts in education when they are in primary school. Learning curricula should include female figures so girls can learn about their work and find role models that they can look up to.

Youth and non-profit organisations can also play a key role. Social and youth workers must be properly trained to help young females that are seeking to start their own businesses. These organisations must show them the support and resources they require so they can pursue their dreams. Initiatives and programs should also focus on new female entrepreneurs to provide them with the tools they need to maintain and grow their companies so they can also reach greater heights in the business world.


Source: Alena Darmel on Pexels

How can these organisations provide proper help to women? Their staff should be properly trained to acquire the necessary knowledge. That is why, projects like Athena have been set in place. Its aim is to train youth and social workers in using innovative initiatives to promote and support youth female entrepreneurship. Their MOOC provides guidelines, methodologies, and tools to prepare women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses : discover it on

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OECD. (2017). (publication). Policy Brief on Women’s Entrepreneurship. OECD/European Union. Retrieved from

OECD. (2020). Is the gender gap in entrepreneurship closing?

. Retrieved from

UN Women. (2016). Economic empowerment and skills development for young women [web log]. Retrieved from

Vidadievna, E. (2023, July 10). Gender in Entrepreneurship: Does it Still Matter in 2023? [web log]. Retrieved from

Youth Business International. (2021, November 19). Women face gender-specific barriers to entrepreneurship [web log]. Retrieved from



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