In recent years, female entrepreneurs have been making a name for themselves in the business world. In the United States, there are more than 11 million firms owned by women. These firms have created jobs for almost 9 million people and generated over 1.7 trillion in sales. While these numbers are impressive, they only tell part of the story for female entrepreneurs. While 11 million is no number to scoff at, women-owned firms are still considered a minority. Compared to their male counterparts, women entrepreneurs face a different set of hurdles. To shed some light on the challenges that women face, you will find them outlined below.

Breaking Social Expectations

When women business owners attend networking events, they can instantly note that a female presence is lacking. Talking business with male executives can be unnerving. Sometimes when pushed into a male-dominated industry, women sometimes feel like they have to adopt a more masculine attitude. To be a successful entrepreneur, you have to stay true to yourself. Find your own voice and stick with it. You don’t need to conform to a man’s idea of what a real leader looks and acts like.

Limited Access to Funding

When applying for a loan women are often not taken seriously. Women-owned businesses receive only 7 percent of venture capital investment money which is much lower considering the role women play in the economy.  Loan approval rates for women are 15 to 20 percent less than male entrepreneurs. Before applying for financial assistance, women are often required to “build up their brand” or prove themselves.

To overcome this challenge, women who are looking for business investors should take time to a great team to back up their business and create a solid business plan. Another way women can gain more funding is by working with more female investors who want to help grow to support other female entrepreneurs.

Lack of Support

It can be hard for women to receive the support they need. Over 48 percent of women founders report that the lack of mentors and advisors limited their professional growth. The high-level business world is still dominated by men making it hard to facilitate conversations and add elite connections to your network.

Finding the right support network isn’t easy, but a good place to stay is at women-focused networking events like EWomenNetwork or Bizwomen. Don’t forget to check out the online forums that are designed for women in business such as Elevate Network.

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