Entrepreneurship is often celebrated as a driver of economic growth and job creation, leading ultimately to greater social stability. But at The Women’s Foundation, we believe entrepreneurship transcends starting a new enterprise – to us, entrepreneurship is a state of mind. Entrepreneurship is about challenging and shifting traditional mindsets and raising expectations of what human beings are capable of.
Of course, it’s important that more men and women – particularly women! – are encouraged and supported to start new ventures. Unfortunately, women’s share of entrepreneurial activity not just in Hong Kong but around the world remains consistently and markedly lower than men’s.
While Hong Kong is generally recognised as a positive and enabling environment to set up a new business, only 19% of high growth entrepreneurs are women. In Hong Kong, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) represent 97% of all enterprises and provide 45% of all jobs. However, the ratio of male to female employers is 3.5 to 1. And there are 58,000 self-employed women, compared to 165,000 self-employed men. In addition, the women owned businesses that do exist tend to be smaller, with slower growth rates.
At The Women’s Foundation, we believe that targeted assistance is require to close the gap between men and women’s entrepreneurial activity and achievements, to empower women-owned businesses to reach their full potential, and to expand the contribution of the sector to the overall economy.
To access our research on the status of women entrepreneurship in Hong Kong, please click here.