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Feminine Capital – Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs

Stereotypes about men and entrepreneurship run rampant in entrepreneurial spaces. It is known as a “masculine domain”. These stereotypes often negatively impact the way women interact in the business and entrepreneurial world. Enter, Feminine Capital, a book filled with tools to help reframe the way we think about women entrepreneurship. Written by Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliot, Feminine Capital is here to help us break gender stereotypes and understand how to capture positive attributes that women bring to entrepreneurship and begin to deploy these learning’s to enhance our entrepreneurial performance.

In a room filled with women entrepreneurs, Catherine and Barb begin their session by asking the crowd to “write down the names of two well known entrepreneurs”, they then ask the group to shout out a few names that they wrote down, “Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Oprah!” only ONE of those three names was a woman. This might be surprising to some but most people will think of male entrepreneurs off the top of their heads, specifically male entrepreneurs in tech ie. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Women are just as capable, and yet, men continue to dominate in entrepreneurial and tech based environments. Let’s dig in.

Whether you know it or not, your gender impacts the way you do business. The biggest hurdle women are faced with is being able to be taken seriously in their capabilities to perform similar roles as their male counterparts. The preference in the tech space is to hire women in soft roles, like administration, HR and communications, rather than programming roles. Women navigate this issue on a do-it-yourself basis dealing with these ecosystem challenges on their own. Being faced with obstacles like this, women often feel doubtful or apprehensive while travelling through their entrepreneurial journey.

With Catherine and Barbara’s guidance, the group began an activity on assessing skills and competencies with their businesses or entrepreneurial ventures. This activity is designed for female entrepreneurs to identify areas of development to ensure successful business advancement.

Through this activity we learned that:

1. Women are less likely to do strategic networking

2. Women tend to NOT hire so they can control their business

3. Women are less likely to innovate product or process based innovations

4. Women are less likely to adopt ICT

This exercise was taken from Feminine Capital's worksheet: Assessing Your Skills and Competencies. This learning resource highlights the skills and competencies required to grow and manage an enterprise. In assessing their own entrepreneurial skills, they can identify areas for development - to help build their business. The group was then instructed to complete each knowledge domain in the worksheet as homework. Once completed, participants are better equipped to construct an action plan to ensure they either obtain or acquire the skills and competencies necessary to efficiently build their venture.

Feminine Capital is filled with many other personal assessment tools and activities, as well as chapters and chapters of learning aids to help women create successful enterprises and overcome the everyday challenges. We were lucky to learn only a small part of what this book has to offer and encourage women entrepreneurs to pick up a copy to help kick-start your thinking on how your entrepreneurial journey is being influenced by gender.

Interested in learning more? Join us for a Mentorship Circle on November 12th to do a deeper dive with participants into this exercise. We will also be working on another worksheet to define individuals leadership styles. NOTE: The Mentorship Circle is by invitation only and for those who have committed to the Accelerator and attended the last session.

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