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“I think women are so far ahead of the game right now”

“I think women are so far ahead of the game right now”

Ginger Sloan, a lifelong entrepreneur, shares her thoughts on why now is the best time for women to launch their own business

One in three growth-oriented entrepreneurs in the world today are female, according to a new report by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Furthermore, slightly more than 30 per cent of female entrepreneurs expect to hire six or more employees in the next five years – up from the 18.7 per cent reported back in 2019.

The fact is that women in business are becoming an increasingly prevalent share of the overall market. But why is this, and what does the landscape look like for this segment’s growth in the future?

To find out, we spoke with Ginger Sloan, a lifelong entrepreneur who started her first business at just 10 years old.

KM: Why do you think female entrepreneurship has been rising over the past few years, even in the face of a global pandemic?

GS: The pandemic caused women who would previously go into the office in a situation where they no longer needed to. They had previously become stay-at-home mothers or employees but now found themselves working at home with the opportunity to enter into other areas.

Although the pandemic has a negative impact in so many areas of our lives, it showed women who never in their wildest dreams thought that they’d do anything but a nine-to-five, that they’re really good at something else. Even though it may have started as a side hustle, for many women, these things became permanent careers.

As we’ve seen quarantines and restrictions for COVID lift, it’s been proven that women who became entrepreneurs don’t go back to the office. Financially, they don’t need to; they like the change, too.

KM: What do you think of the term ‘female entrepreneur’? Do you think that we as a society should just opt for the more genderneutral ‘entrepreneur’?

GS: I honestly don’t get into a lot of the name-calling. I’m not a sensitive person in that way; I’ve always just been regarded as an entrepreneur, but certainly, if you call me a female entrepreneur, I’m not offended in any way.

I do think it has a different connotation, though. Females bring a little edge to the game. We have a very protective hunger and it’s different for men. I’m not trying to compare the two, but I think when you say a female entrepreneur, there’s a degree of fight that comes with that. I think there’s some benefit, too.

I don’t claim to have any feminist qualities, but when you look at what is available to females – especially self-employed females – we get a preference. From SBA to government contracts, you get to be considered a minority diversity and you can offer tax benefits and credits to your clients for using your business that men don’t. There’s a lot of weight that comes with being a female entrepreneur, and I believe however you want to refer to it is fine.

“It’s really important for an entrepreneur – especially a female – to decipher who is really on their team, and who is not”

KM: Do you think the opportunities available to men and women when launching their own business in 2022 are equal?

GS: Absolutely not. I think women are so far ahead of the game right now. A lot of it is for the reasons I just mentioned: having availability to get more points, so to speak, when you’re bidding on a contract. If you’re wanting to apply for an SBA loan or funding – people don’t realise that if you go to a bank to apply for funding, they get credit for lending to minority businesses. As a female entrepreneur, you’re just that. It does put us in front of a male entrepreneur. And with the environment created by the pandemic with the different kinds of funding available, it’s easier now than ever to become an entrepreneur.

That doesn’t mean you’re going to be good at it. Just because there’s a low cost to entry, doesn’t mean you’re suited for it. But I definitely think that women have a head start right now. Particularly when you look at social media and the internet right now; have you seen the number of businesses that have launched online? There are teenagers working from home that are making six figures right now.

“I honestly don’t get into a lot of the name-calling. I’m not a sensitive person in that way”

KM: What have been the biggest challenges throughout your career, and how have you overcome them?

GS: I think two things when you ask that: learn to hear the voices and understand. Not everybody has your best interest at heart. It’s really important for an entrepreneur – especially a female – to decipher who is really on their team, and who is not.

When you listen, especially as a young entrepreneur, there are plenty of lessons to learn from the wrong people. Wise council is always huge. I suggest, for any female entrepreneur: find a mentor or a mentor program. Try to find the bumps that other people have overcome and learn from their mistakes.

Secondly, if I could talk to my younger entrepreneurial self now: don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary circumstance. I think when we’re self-employed we react and are very protective, and I think it’s very important to be able to decipher emotion from fact. Make your business decisions based on facts.

KM: Do you think there are particular industries more suited to female entrepreneurship, or is that an outdated view?

GS: It’s absolutely outdated. As I mentioned, I think that opportunity right now is everywhere. Females in general have a much greater opportunity for online businesses.

In my opinion, the industry that’s hardest for female entrepreneurs to get into is global finance. I feel like there are still some areas that are considered ‘a man’s world’, and that happens to be one of them. But there are still so many opportunities that are available, and it’s a very fair landscape right now.

The author

Ginger Sloan, a lifelong entrepreneur, shares her thoughts on why now is the best time for women to launch their own businesses.

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