Report: Women-Run Startups 'More Stable' than Men

April 2, 2017
By China Women's NewsEditor: Penny Huang

China Women Entrepreneurs Association released its annual development report on March 22, indicating that female business owners have made many positive contributions to the economy in the past year as well as facing multiple pressures.

With the fast pace of social transformation and economic adjustment, increasing access to higher education and opportunities for entrepreneurs have enabled women to perform outstandingly, said Li Lan, vice chairperson of the association.

The survey polled 2,505 businesswomen from 29 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions, mainly studying their behavioral and leadership characteristics, and the operation of their startups.

The report was co-conducted by the Chinese Entrepreneurs Survey System; the Women Special Committee under China Talent Research Institute; and, Beijing Prominent Women Entrepreneurs Research Foundation.

Rise of Female Entrepreneurs Boosts Employment Opportunities

In the survey, two thirds of respondents were self-employed and nearly 20 percent became leaders appointed by directors of the board or their former departments.

When it came to the motivation for entrepreneurship, a majority said it was for self-fulfillment.

Regarding various age groups, businesswomen aged between 48 and 57 said it offered the "opportunity to heal" and "satisfy employees' expectations", while respondents between 38 and 47 said it was for "higher social status".

For the younger generation aged 29-37, they said they strive for financial independence and an easygoing lifestyle.

The report also pointed to a higher proportion of female employees and executives in enterprises helmed by women. In particular, the rise of female entrepreneurs has boosted the employment and career development of women academics.

Specifically, according to the findings, over half of employees (55 percent) were female in women-run startups compared with 37 percent of those run by men.

Meanwhile, women accounted for 45 percent among senior- and middle managers in women-run enterprises, nearly 27 percent higher than the proportion found in enterprises run by their male counterparts

In addition, gender difference exists regarding value orientation, leadership characteristics and management, said the report.

It is noted that women entrepreneurs focused on employees' development and building rapport with cooperative partners, staff and customers.

Compared to men, they had more sense of "well-being" and employees found the work more satisfying.

Women-Run Startups Are 'Small but Lovely'

According to the survey, the majority of female business owners who responded ran small- or middle-sized enterprises and nearly half had registered capital of less than 5 million yuan (U.S. $ 726,744).

Women entrepreneurs are scattered in multiple sectors and mainly engaged in service industries including manufacturing (21.5 percent); wholesale and retail (15.3 percent); medicine, cosmetology and healthcare (8.2 percent); catering and hotels (7.1 percent); and, culture, sport and recreations (5.5 percent).

Perhaps surprisingly, the report indicated that facing the current economic downturn, enterprises helmed by women had comparatively higher profit margins than those run by men despite being smaller in size, in the first half of 2016.

Women-run companies were also prominent as regards the financial input of employees' training and mentoring.

Businesswomen Still Juggling Work, Family

The report further indicated that women had to pay a higher price during business operations and management, because keeping a balance of work and life is still considered as a challenge for them.

The findings suggested that women in charge of enterprises spent over half their time on their career, followed by family (20.6 percent) and social activities. They sacrificed their time on hobbies, which ranked the last.

To operate businesses, most respondents said they did not have enough time to care about family members and suffered many misunderstandings. Fortunately, over 90 percent of women surveyed said their family supported their careers.

Li believed that with family support, female business owners could perform better to balance employment and family requirements.

(Source: China Women's News/Translated and edited by Women of China)

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