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Opinion

Female entrepreneurship benefits all

Female entrepreneurship in Finland serves as a good example to many EU countries. But there is still much more work to be done, writes Natalia Härkin.

Finland ranks among the top of international comparisons of female entrepreneurship and serves as a good example to many EU countries. Women here are well educated and, year after year, rank close to the top of education surveys by the OECD. Finnish women also boast a wealth of work experience, expertise and networks, as well as independence.

In light of the aforementioned, one could conclude that everything in the country is well and good. So, is it indeed necessary to promote female entrepreneurship in modern-day Finland, and do women really need their own entrepreneurs’ organisation? It is and they do.

Women account for roughly a half of the population in Finland, but their share of entrepreneurs has remained unchanged – at approximately 30 per cent – for over 10 years. It is noteworthy that educational attainment has increased among women, and that both attitudes towards entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial activity have developed in a positive direction.

The instruments available to entrepreneurs, such as funding, guidance and business services, have similarly become more entrepreneurship-friendly. Entrepreneurship training and education has become more readily available and practice-oriented.

Yet the lion’s share of female-led enterprises are one-person businesses. Self-employment without employees is even more common among women. This poses a great challenge to the development and modernisation of business operations. Studies indicate that another characteristic of female-owned businesses is that they do not grow, internationalise or create jobs.

“It is of utmost importance to fully harness the reserve and potential of female entrepreneurs to the benefit of entrepreneurship and the society at large.”

In order to ensure female-owned businesses can succeed in the prevalent competitive landscape and in the face of future megatrends, female entrepreneurship must be promoted. It is crucial to promote female entrepreneurship as part of business growth and the ability and willingness of women to take risks, just as it is crucial to develop processes for businesses to grow, internationalise and create jobs – based on the needs of female entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship and the jobs created by entrepreneurs contribute towards the stability and development of the wellbeing, competitiveness and productivity of our society. Entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs form a bedrock for economic growth, regional vitality, industrial structural reforms, employment and tax revenues.

This is why it is so important and meaningful to promote female entrepreneurship.

Published on 22.03.2018