Study from UK's leading online resource Startups.co.uk reveals hottest start-up prospects with input from entrepreneurs and industry experts.
The NextWomen Social Entrepreneurship Theme
In India, there is no shortage of talented female social entrepreneurs. Women like Ela Bhatt, who in 1972 founded SEWA, the world’s first and largest trade union for undocumented women workers, as well as Women’s World Banking in 1979 - have been inspiring and leading women for generations.
Hina Shah, founder of The International Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development (ICECD), has worked for over 25 years on scaling micro, small, and medium size businesses across 21 states of India.
Today, Nanay Coring – the preferred nickname of Socorro Ramos – is one of the most successful women in the Philippines.
She and her husband Jose Ramos founded National Book Store in 1940, and have watched a single bookshop grow into their country’s largest bookstore chain. But success was never guaranteed for Coring – just the opposite, in fact.
She was born into a family of shopkeepers, who were thrown into poverty after losing the family business. At 18, she began working for her brother-in-law’s family and met Jose Ramos while serving as a shopkeeper in a bookstore. Coring fell in love with both the business and Jose, and defied her family by eloping with him and starting a family (they thought she was too young) as well as founding the original National Book Store shop.
But disaster struck National Book Store during World War II.
The Japanese soldiers occupying the Philippines objected to many of the titles sold by National Book Store. To avoid having their valuable merchandise destroyed, Coring and her husband switched to selling goods and sundries while hiding their book stock. They later sold these salvaged books after the war ended and the Japanese departed.
The NextWomen Social Entrepreneurship Theme.
Sara Horowitz is the Founder and Executive Director of Freelancers Union and CEO of the social-purpose Freelancers Insurance Company. The Freelancers Union is the fastest growing union in the US, with 200,000 members spanning all 50 states.
In 2011 Sara was named one of the Top 30 Social Entrepreneurs by Forbes and a Top 25 Most Promising Social Entrepreneur by Businessweek. She was one of Crain’s New York’s “25 People to Watch” in 2010, one of 100 Global Leaders for Tomorrow at the 2002 World Economic Forum.
A MacArthur Foundation “Genius” fellow, Sara has long been a leading voice for the emerging economy, early on recognizing the vital role independent workers would play in our networked, interconnected world. Today, 42 million Americans are “independent workers” – about one-third of the entire workforce.
With a membership of more than 170,000 nationwide, Freelancers Union is building a new form of unionism through creative, cooperative, market-based solutions to pressing social problems.
Last weekend, more than 1000 thought leaders came together to discuss the Economy and Society from a female perspective. Unlike the Davos Global Forum, in Deauville powerful women are in the majority at the fifth international Women's Forum for the Economy and Society. Its motto is:
"Think again, think ahead! It is time for action, change and hope".
There were many international speakers unveiling their ideas on politics, entrepreneurship, economics; a lot of the time about the effects of the financial crisis, but also on the chances and opportunities that it brings. Among the speakers - 17 Rising Talents of 2009 - was Founder of Smarta, Shaa Wasmund.
Some conclusions from the forum were:
Women are Hit Hard by the Financial Crisis
It may be that women-led hedge funds have performed better in the financial crisis than hedge funds run by men - as was one of the conclusions of a Report launched at the Women's Forum - and yet women and girls in poor countries have been hit the hardest by the implosion of banks thousands of miles away.
The developed world has received far more funding to combat the crisis, in comparison to that received by the worlds poorest countries. As a result, women now need similarly large-scale solutions, including access to capital and to larger markets, to combat the crisis.
"The ground has shifted beneath the feet of our business models and social and economic policies”, explains Founder and CEO Aude Zieseniss de Thuin. "The Women’s Forum for the Economy and Society views moments of rupture like this as an opportunity to advance new ideas, technologies and even paradigms for society and the economy. With their male counterparts, women have a key role to play in the process of creating a more resilient future," the Founder of the Women’s Forum said.
Empowering Women makes Financial Sense
Discussed at great length, was the idea that empowering women economically is not just a matter of fairness, but of financial sense.
"New research shows what many have long suspected: women entrepreneurs are poised to lead the next wave of growth in global technology ventures.
This is conclusion from the very thorough research on entrepreneurial women in tech, called High Performance Entrepreneurs: Women in High Tech, performed by a team led by founder and CEO Cindy Padnos of Illuminate Ventures, a venture fund that focuses on women led companies. Women are more efficient, have fewer failures, submit more patents, and start more companies and are heavily involved in IPO's. But is not all sunny: there still very few female investors, while women take on less capital than men. Here's a summary
"Report: High Performance Entrepreneurs: Women in High Tech
The report, prepared by Illuminate Ventures, documents the out-performance of women entrepreneurs in the past decade and the trends that are propelling them towards critical mass in the high-tech sector.
- Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency: The high-tech companies that women build are more capital-efficient than the norm. The average venture-backed company run by a woman had annual revenues that were 12 percent higher, using an average of one-third less committed capital.
- Big Progress in Recent Times: More women are serving as officers of venture-backed companies with successful exits. In 1988, only 4% of the 134 firms that went public in the U.S. had women in top management positions growing to over 41% percent by 2004. Of 2009’s 19 high-tech IPOs, all but two had at least one woman officer.
- Fewer Failures: Despite often being capital-constrained, women-owned businesses are more likely to survive the transition from raw start-up to established company than the average.
The NextWomen Africa Theme.
Serial entrepreneur Ndidi Nwuneli is one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders.
The much sought after job of editing Cosmopolitan fell to Louise Court in 2006, having left her role as Editorial Director at ACP-NatMag overseeing weekly titles such as Reveal, Best and Real People. She previously had a long career in editing and writing for newspapers and magazines such as Express and Woman's Own. Coral Turner was lucky enough to pose some key questions to Louise Court whose insight may help those starting out in the fashion design industry.
It seems that every entrepreneur wants to start the next Ebay of..... And so we have seen a rise of online shops, which may be due to the rapid expansion of the web and technology industry, the easy implementation of online payment systems and the availability of low interest credit cards. As a consequence, not only is the number of online consumers increasing, but also the number of many successful and growing online retail businesses.
The future of e-commerce looks very promising. Eurostat/nVision predicts that it will only take a few years before the European population buying online increases by 70%.
"E-commerce penetration is currently around 5%, expected to get to north 15% - 30 to 40% for the most bullish of the group." Investor Fred Destin
As online payment is now so common, many entrepreneurs set up the next online marketplaces and shops, inspired by the success of online luxury fashion retailer Net-a-Porter celebrating its 10th anniversary, and just sold for 350 million pounds and a creative publishing platform Blurb, which grew under Astia’s wings to a turnover of 45 million dollars.
The growing industry of e-commerce gives plenty of room for innovative creations, we name a few of the e-commerce entrepreneurs and their businesses:
Mama Tea is a webshop founded by female entrepreneur Anna Louise Simpson. As she struggled to find a tea flavour she liked during her pregnancy, she decided to create her own range of tea flavours which are now for sale on the website.
Founded by Matt Rutledge, Woot blends e-commerce and community and is centered on the different item for sale online each day. Although similar to Groupon and other daily deals sites, the success of Woot is translated into its partnership with Yahoo!Shopping and acquisition by Amazon.
Cultural differences and different languages can be challenging when leading a team remotely. Whether your team is based over different continents or all over the world, your communication skills will help you to keep your people motivated at all times.
As a manager of a multi-cultural and international team of people your understanding of their culture, their clients and the way of doing business in their part of the world is your key to success.