Supporting female entrepreneursFemale entrepreneurs not only offer vast potential for the global economy, but they represent a key market for insurance. With this in mind, AXA has been actively seeking solutions to support women before, during and after the start-up phase. These are based on one conviction: only a truly local approach can identify the specific barriers in each region and help unlock the full potential of enterprising women everywhere.
In France, one in five women entrepreneurs works in a team, compared to one in three men. In emerging countries, women hide their professional activity from relatives for fear of being stigmatized. This isolation weighs on their businesses in the event of sickness or family problems.
Access to funding and subsidies is a challenge shared by all entrepreneurs but can be particularly taxing for women. At equivalent levels of education, they launch businesses with less professional and managerial experience than men. Also they internalize gender stereotypes.
Lower pay and funding
Given that women entrepreneurs reportedly have their loan applications rejected twice as often as men, many decide to rely on their own resources. They also tend to earn less: in France, the gender pay gap is 25% among self-employed and 29% among owners of limited companies (SARLs).
While numerous studies show that businesses started by women are more robust, the fear of bankruptcy still weighs on their decision to launch a business. After a failure, few female entrepreneurs try again, because either they choose the security of a salaried job or financial losses prevent them from starting over.
Starting a company is often a decision taken for the family: female entrepreneurs’ motivations include “increasing the household resources” in emerging countries or “having more time for the children” in mature markets. In reality, family responsibilities represent an everyday obstacle.