7 Ways You Can Celebrate Women's Entrepreneurship Day
Support and celebrate female entrepreneurs around the world
This Friday, November 18th is Women's Entrepreneurship Day (WED). Started in 2014 by successful serial entrepreneur Wendy Diamond, WED is focused on celebrating, discussing, and empowering female entrepreneurs all across the globe.
After volunteering in Honduras with low-income women, Diamond decided to start a global event with the aim of advancing female business owners. According to the Huffington Post, "The goal behind WED is to empower the 4 billion women on the planet, while creating change for the 250 million girls living in poverty."
This year's event will be celebrated in 144 countries, and will be supported by the United Nations, the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, and over 5,000 colleges and universities.
The event hopes to inspire female entrepreneurs, get the conversation going about issues they face such as the gender pay gap, and support the millions of girls and women living in poverty around the globe.
This year, you can get involved in several different ways to help support, celebrate, and encourage female entrepreneurs. Below are six ways you can celebrate WED on both a local/personal level, and on a larger international level.
1) Shop at women-owned businesses
Black Friday is coming up, kicking off the 2016 holiday shopping season. This year, make conscious choices about where you spend your money and shop at businesses owned by successful female entrepreneurs. All it takes is a little research to find great women-owned businesses that you can patron.
You can also shop at businesses that support and donate to charities that aid women across the globe. ChooseWomen.org is a wonderful organization that brings together several retailers to "support leading microfinance organizations around the world that provide impoverished women with essential microloans to start their own businesses. Each purchase through ChooseWomen.org will contribute a percentage of the sale to these organizations."
Participating stores include LL Bean, Lilly Pulitzer, Bobbi Brown, and many more. Get your holiday shopping done AND support the growth of female entrepreneurs around the world? Sounds like a win-win to me!
2) Invest in women-owned businesses
This weekend you can also take your financial support of female entrepreneurs one step further and invest in women-owned businesses.
On average, women receive less funding for their business endeavors than men. In fact, according to a new study by Fundera, "Women entrepreneurs ask for less financing than men do, and receive loans at lower levels with higher interest rates."
The study goes on to report that, "not only did women entrepreneurs get offered smaller loans across every loan product from the same group of online lenders, they also received more costly debt than did male borrowers."
Women businesses are in desperate need of financing. If you have an investment portfolio, or are thinking of starting one, consider moving some of your money into women-owned businesses.
You can invest in these businesses at any level of their development. Maybe you know a startup looking for venture capital. Or maybe you're interested in buying stocks in a publicly-traded company. Whatever stage you are interested in investing in, consider doing some research and adding "female owned/run" to your list of investment criteria.
This great article from Forbes with a list of the fastest-growing, women-owned businesses is a good place to start.
3) Take a female entrepreneur out for lunch
Being an entrepreneur is tough work. It's a lot of long hours that leave very little time to celebrate successes. So this weekend, invite a female entrepreneur to lunch and give them the recognition and support they deserve.
A one-on-one interaction can do wonders to boost an entrepreneur's self esteem and give them a fresh burst of energy. While you're chatting, ask how else you might be able to help them succeed in their business. Whether it's introducing them to your network, or just offering a listening ear, you could make a huge difference in someone's life in one afternoon.
4) Send a social shoutout
Don't have the time to treat an entrepreneur to lunch? Or maybe you don't personally know a female entrepreneur? Take a moment to give a shoutout on social media instead. Link to a female-owned business website or social media handle to spread awareness among your social contacts of the amazing female entrepreneurs out there.
You can also join the growing movement to spread awareness about Women Entrepreneurship Day and ChooseWomen.org. By using the hashtag #ChooseWomen, you can help spread awareness of the great opportunities to support women-owned businesses.
5) Be a mentor
Do you have entrepreneurship experience? Maybe you've successfully started your own business, or have an abundance of knowledge to share. It might be time to become a mentor and cultivate a female entrepreneur.
Mentors are one of the most valuable resources an entrepreneur can have. They share experiences that you can't learn in books, offer feedback and guidance, not to mention the networking opportunities. Mentors are vital to a female entrepreneur's success, but on average women have access to less mentors than men.
So take this time to mentor a female entrepreneur. Give them the gift of your wisdom and advice. Help encourage them to succeed, and keep going when things get rough.
If you don't have entrepreneurship experience, you can still help! Entrepreneurs need all kinds of support from a variety of mentors. They seek mentors for their business health, spiritual health, physical health, and more. If you have wisdom or expertise in any area, you can still help mentor a female entrepreneur and help them to find balance and success in any aspect of their lives.
You can also help by connecting a budding female entrepreneur with a great mentor in your network. Create connections, form introductions, and encourage the women in your life to get the support they need.
6) Pass it on to the next generation
One of the greatest responsibilities we have is to pass on lessons and confidence to the next generation of women.
It's time to teach millennial women the new rules of money. Stop telling them the old financial advice to study to get good grades, graduate from a good school and get a good job and keep working in the same corporate system that enforces the gender pay gap. Instead, teach them how to make money work for them by investing instead of saving, and starting their own business instead of working up the ladder.
This holiday season, give the gift of financial education. Get the young women in your life financial books, like my book Rich Woman. Or play the Cashflow game with them to help them put these lessons into practice. Sign them up for webinars or courses at our Rich Dad site. Invest in their future, so that they can help further the advance of female entrepreneurs.
7) Start your own business
Of course the best way to celebrate Women Entrepreneurship Day is to become an entrepreneur yourself!
A few weeks ago I wrote about why now is the perfect time to start your own small business. The resources, support, and economic environment are all in prime position to help your business aspirations become reality.
WED and ChooseWomen.org are just two examples of the incredible opportunities for support and encouragement for female entrepreneurs. The climate for female entrepreneurs has never been more welcoming, and you could add your voice to the movement of strong and successful women-owned businesses.