Supporting the Female Entrepreneur Through Active Participation February 19, 2013 RICCentre By: Leah Jones “If women do not participate fully in entrepreneurial activities, we lose half the potential of our society” – Roseann O’Reilly Runte (President & Vice-Chancellor, Carleton University) Though Forbes reports that women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the last 20 years, the perpetuated image of this community is predominantly male, making it challenging for women to be perceived as viable players. Here are two ways you can support female entrepreneurs, and accelerate the presence of women within the entrepreneurial community. Attend Female-Based Entrepreneurial Events (but not exclusively) Events such as getinspired provide great opportunities for female entrepreneurs to share ideas and gain advice from other women. Forbes writer Natalie MacNiel believes these events are “essential for women to help each other grow and edify the next generation of women leaders,” but warns women not to shy away from events welcoming both genders. Women must be socially active in order to facilitate the acceptance of an equal and unified entrepreneurial community. Foster an Entrepreneurial Spirit in Young Girls The knowledge-based and manufacturing industries are key Canadian sectors, yet attract only 6% of female entrepreneurs. One suggestion is to get more girls interested in these streams at a young age, but science-based interest alone does not guarantee the advancement of female innovation. Providing girls with entrepreneurial role models is essential to inspiring the next generation of young SME owners in all sectors. Again, it comes down to women actively participating in the entrepreneurial community. By giving young women the chance to join in this community – whether through events like getinspired or by giving them first-hand experience through internship opportunities – it presents female entrepreneurism not as a dream, but as a thriving career opportunity. To celebrate International Women’s Day, the City of Brampton is hosting getinspired on March 7th, an event tailored towards female entrepreneurs. If you are a female entrepreneur looking to grow your business, contact the RIC Centre for access to mentoring services and professional development events, and don’t forget to attend getinspired March 7th, 2013. Leah is completing her final year of the Visual Culture and Communications specialist program at the University of Toronto Mississauga and Sheridan College. She is interning at the RIC centre, bringing her experience in digital, print and website design. Leah is eager to begin a career in corporate communications after her graduation in June. The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal & professional experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.