Government initiating programs to nurture entrepreneurship in women
Role models visiting schools shows effect
Supporting startups through loan and consulting programs
Women-led startups to increase in IT sector thanks to SNS
Primary task is to find role models in various fields
Need for training on how to turn a business item into a brand
“In order to encourage more women to start a business, the government must change corporate environment, which is currently hostile to women, just as in Sweden, and find women role models in various fields.”
This was the bottom line of participants at “Gender Equality, Welfare State, and Social Innovation” forum held at LG Convention Hall in Ewha Womans University on the 20th and hosted by Korean Women’s Institute and Embassy of Sweden. The forum was organized in order to introduce innovative technology and the spirit of creative economy in key science companies in Sweden, as well as to explain Swedish policies to support women-led startups and women’s entrepreneurship in the field of creative economy.
“Only 25% of all Swedish companies are managed by women, and only 4% of listed companies have women as CEO,” explained Helena Tillborg, Representative of East Asia at Swedish Agency for Growth Analysis. She added, “There is general consensus that women’s participation is crucial for the nation’s sustainable growth so the government is taking the lead in encouraging more women to start a business and providing policy support in order to nurture women’s entrepreneurship, a mindset that leads to creation of new values through innovation.”
Currently, the Swedish government is initiating a program to nurture entrepreneurship in women. Compared to men, women have fewer opportunities to start a business and have less exemplary role models, so the program focuses on securing equal opportunities for men and women.
Representative Tillborg also said, “In the initial phase of starting a business, women structurally have fewer windows to get a loan or consulting, but in the long run, the difference in the initial phase could become the decisive factor in the fate of the business.”
She also mentioned the impact of a role model as another critical factor in supporting women’s success. In Sweden, 900 women entrepreneurs and executives were appointed as ambassadors for promoting women’s entrepreneurship, and since then they have been visiting schools and meeting young women to give lectures and guidance. Up to now, 120,000 people participated in the lectures.
Golden Rules for Leadership, another program led by Swedish Agency for Growth Analysis in order to boost women’s leadership, was also introduced at the forum. First devised by Hilary Clinton, former US Secretary of State, this program encourages women to proactively lean in to take the seats of leadership. Annie Lööf, Sweden’s Minister for Enterprise, participated in this program with women entrepreneur, Sicilia, to experience each other’s day..
Meanwhile, Moon Hyo-eun, former Vice President and President of DAUM and currently processor at Ewha Womans University, emphasized the importance of policies tailored to women’s needs in order to increase the number of women-led startups in IT industry in her speech on “changes in IT trend and women’s entrepreneurship.”
“As more people use SNS and IT devices and more women work for IT companies, the number of women-led startups in IT sector has been soaring as well,” said Professor Moon. She added, “In order to produce more women entrepreneurs, we must find role models and success cases in various fields.” She also stressed that training programs for people who wish to start a business should be reorganized to focus more on nurturing entrepreneurship and training how to turn items into a brand, and emphasized that we must change investment environment, which is hostile to women, so that startups in different stages can receive investment according to their needs.