Discussion 8 Global Entrepreneurship

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Throughout the semester, we have discussed reasons for entrepreneurship, qualities that entrepreneurs possess, and many examples of entrepreneurs. But most of our discussions have been focused on the United States and American entrepreneurs. This week, we will be discussing entrepreneurship from a global perspective, and looking at whether certain traits and reasons are universal, or whether the economy, political structure, social norms, etc. have an effect on entrepreneurship and what those effects might be. Also, how do these factors affect women entrepreneurs specifically?

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) studies entrepreneurship from a global perspective and has released studies specifically on women entrepreneurs. The 2012 GEM Women’s Report is in the class Dropbox folder. Read the executive summary, the key overall findings and any of the subsequent sections that you find interesting. What does this study show about women entrepreneurs worldwide? What topics do they specifically discuss? Are any of the findings surprising to you? One thing that the GEM studies have discovered is that female entrepreneurship is vital to economic growth. Read this business note, “Women Entrepreneurs are Key to Long-Term Economic Growth” on the subject.

Consider the impact of certain factors on entrepreneurship and female entrepreneurship specifically. For example, do you think that the reasons for entrepreneurship might vary in different types of economies? Do women entrepreneurs face the same opportunities and challenges in other countries as they do in the United States?

How about social norms? We have discussed the “glass ceiling” and certain obstacles that women in the United States face. How do you think they compare to obstacles that women in other countries and cultures face? For a look at women entrepreneurs in the Middle East, read “How Women Entrepreneurs Are Driving Business in the Middle East.” (The picture above shows a group of women entrepreneurs with their business plans.) Earlier in the semester, we looked at the 100 Most Creative Women in Business, and Number 1 on the list was Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al-Saud from Saudi Arabia, discussed in the above article. Read updated information on her entrepreneurial venture and her outlook on women in business here.
For another look into how society plays a role in women’s entrepreneurial decisions, read this excerpt from the book African Women and ICTs (edited by Ineke Buskens and Anne Webb), written by Alice Wanjira Munyua, “Women Entrepreneurs in Nairobi: Examining and Contextualizing Women’s Choices.”

Zhang Yin, a Chinese entrepreneur, capitalized on an opportunity to recycle paper (mostly from the United States and Europe) into corrugated cardboard in China. Read her story here.
There are several organizations that seek to aid entrepreneurs worldwide. Watch this video to see more about programs that organize microloans for entrepreneurs worldwide. To learn about one of these organizations, check out Kiva’s Web site. How do you think loan programs such as this one help promote female entrepreneurship? Look around the Web site and read some of the stories. What are your thoughts on these entrepreneurs and what they are trying to accomplish? Do you think these programs benefit them and their entrepreneurial efforts? Did you find any entrepreneurs that impressed you? (Keep in mind what we have learned about social entrepreneurship when looking at these organizations.)

Kiva was co-founded by a woman entrepreneur, Jessica Jackley. She saw a need for international microloans, and created Kiva to help women entrepreneurs worldwide. Click here to read a short biography and watch a video about her reasons for founding a “socially conscious” business.
Consider all of the reasons that we have spoken about this semester for starting your own business. Do you think that if you lived in a different part of the world, that different reasons would be discussed? Can you come up with any examples? Do you think women are more or less likely to become entrepreneurs in societies other than the one in which we currently live? Do you think that it might be easier or more difficult to start your own business? What opportunities and challenges might exist? Consider different cultures and different parts of the world when you are discussing these questions.

Additional Materials:

Global-Entrepreneurship-Monitor.pdf

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