WHITE COLLAR
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Hong Kong ranks second in world for women entrepreneurs

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 March, 2015, 8:49am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 08 April, 2015, 3:13pm

Can’t join the board of directors? Why not set up your own business?

This may well explain why only 10 per cent of directors in Hong Kong are women, compared with 45 per cent of entrepreneurs, according to a global survey by French lender BNP Paribas.

Its “Global Entrepreneurialism Report” surveyed 2,523 entrepreneurs in 17 markets in the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

It showed Hong Kong ranks second in the world when it comes to women setting up their own businesses, behind only India, where 49 per cent of entrepreneurs are female.

In France, the figure was 42 per cent, while Britain had 39 per cent, Spain and the United Arab Emirates 38 per cent, the mainland and the US 36 per cent.

In Taiwan just 28 per cent of entrepreneurs were women, but that was still ahead of the 25 per cent in Singapore and 17 per cent in Belgium, which trailed the field.

Globally, 37 per cent of entrepreneurs are women.

It appears women have the same ambitions as men to set up their own businesses and their patterns are similar. The survey showed the average age of women setting up their own business was 30.5 years, compared with 29.9 years for men.

The size of their businesses was also similar, with female entrepreneurs’ businesses averaging turnover of US$9.1 million a year, compared with US$8.4 million for men.

Both men and women like to set up businesses in the fields of finance, real estate, retail and technology.

But then there are also differences, with women favouring the fashion business and men preferring construction.

The BNP survey showed women and men who opt to set up their own businesses usually have a history of entrepreneurship in their family – with the figure for women being 62 per cent, compared with 59 per cent for men.

“There is no difference between a man and a woman in the entrepreneurial world,” the report concluded. “However, women often lack the confidence to start a business. They need to believe in themselves more.”

That’s an important lesson to learn in the lead-up to Sunday’s International Women’s Day.

 

enoch.yiu@scmp.com

 

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