Editor’s Note: Carmen Niethammer’s policy brief on female entrepreneurship is the subject of this fifth of six blog posts, from Laurence Chandy and George Ingram, previewing the 2013 Brookings Blum Roundtable.
Female entrepreneurship represents a vast untapped source of innovation, job creation and economic growth in the developing world. The barriers to female entrepreneurship are various: Women face greater obstacles in accessing credit, training, networks and information, in addition to formal legal and policy constraints. Data from the World Economic Forum shows little progress in narrowing the economic gap between men and women. Other factors may serve as levelers, such as improved female access to education, urbanization and the growth of the service sector.
Our fifth session at this year’s Brookings Blum Roundtable will examine how the global landscape for female entrepreneurship is changing and what types of interventions have the ability to overturn existing barriers. To inform this discussion, Carmen Niethammer has written a policy brief that brings together contemporary evidence on these issues. Drawing on this evidence, Carmen advocates for supplier diversity policies to boost the share of government expenditure that is procured though women-owned businesses, and for more systematic linking of corporate programs that increase women’s access to finance with those that seek to build business capacity of female business leaders.