Worldwide, women operate more than a quarter of all private businesses and start companies at nearly twice the rate of men. But despite early robust growth, they aren’t reaching their potential, says Ernst & Young. The firm is looking to change that. Ernst & Young has announced the 2013 program’s expansion to include Canadian entrepreneurs, making it the North American Entrepreneurial Winning Women program.
“The statistics are troublesome because we’re missing an opportunity to drive business, create jobs and contribute to the economy,” says Carrie Marchitto, Ernst & Young’s leader of Entrepreneurial Winning Women in Canada. “We launched Entrepreneurial Winning Women to help level the playing field and increase the number of market-leading companies led by women.”
While other programs for women-owned firms are focused more on helping women to start businesses, Entrepreneurial Winning Women provides the targeted support to help them grow and expand their ventures. Through the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, Ernst & Young channels its resources to help women entrepreneurs think bigger and accelerate the growth of their companies.
“We saw an important opportunity to bridge the missing middle – those second-stage entrepreneurs at a crucial stage of growth who often can’t readily find the tools needed to continue to scale up – and help them make their way toward market leadership,” says Marchitto. “The Entrepreneurial Winning Women program has a tremendous impact on participants.”
The program is now in its sixth year in the US. According to a recent study conducted by Babson College, revenues of US program participants’ companies have grown almost 50% each year on average, while creating jobs at an average rate of more than 25% annually.
Thinking Big: How To Accelerate The Growth Of Women-Owned Companies, an Ernst & Young report that summarizes the results of the Babson College study, finds the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program is successful because it provides women with the tools they need to scale up their businesses. The program helps them achieve five crucial things:
- Think big and be bold
- Build a public profile
- Work on the business, rather than in it
- Establish key advisory networks
- Evaluate financing for expansion
“There are many women leading successful businesses in Canada, but many of them need role models and mentors to help them grow,” adds Marchitto. “Entrepreneurial Winning Women has grown into a highly competitive platform to help exceptional women entrepreneurs accomplish the key goals they have for their companies, and we’re so excited to launch it in Canada this year.”
The Ernst & Young Entrepreneurial Winning Women program is a national competition and executive leadership program that identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale – and then helps them do it. In 2013, up to 12 program participants will be selected by a distinguished panel of independent judges. To be eligible for the competition, businesses must be less than 10 years old with at least US$2 million in revenue in each of the past two years, and must be led and majority owned by a woman.