Traditionally, women seem less likely to own businesses than men.
Commitments at home prevented this in the past. And more modern hurdles include lack of access to funding, mentors and training.
But women today have become slightly more likely to start businesses than men. And technology has provided some of these opportunities.
Clearly, entrepreneurship appeals to all different types of people. But roadblocks and challenges still exist which tend to apply a bit more to women in business. In fact, a recent report from the National Women’s Business Council outlines a concept that applies to a lot of female entrepreneurs. It shows entrepreneurship is necessary.
Starting a Business from Need, Not Passion
Basically, women start businesses out of need. And often this need arises from a financial motivation. But their businesses support them and their families. Contrast this with entrepreneurs who start businesses for passion.
But now we return to the needs that might drive women to start a small business. Starting a business might get women out of a toxic workplace. And so entrepreneurship could rescue someone from harassment in the office.
But running a business could also allow women to take care of their children when another job wouldn’t.
However, evolving technology lowers these hurdles for women.
Dale Carnegie Training
Dale Carnegie Training’s online development courses present one example of how technology is making entrepreneurship more accessible. And the training institute now utilizes live, online training. The institute has existed for more than 100 years. But over the past several years the institute has used technology to bring development and learning opportunities to more people.
Anita Zinsmeister serves as President of Dale Carnegie Training of Central and Southern New Jersey. She talks about using technology in a phone interview with Small Business Trends. “How you leverage technology and use it to your advantage is so important because so much of the world is going in that direction today. That’s why we’ve developed a robust live online learning tool that uses technology as a platform to connect people and give them opportunities to grow and develop.”
Dale Carnegie Training offers a variety of online training options. These include both one-time webinars and ongoing, live training sessions. The live courses include a limited number of participants. So this makes them very interactive. They also include features like white boards and chat rooms. So participants can connect with instructors and other students. Zinsmeister also pointed out that the courses are not self-paced or one sided. Instructors keep students engaged throughout by asking questions and spurring conversations.
Technology Offers Clear Advantages
This type of technology helps more than female entrepreneurs and professionals. But it does offer some clear advantages for those who value flexibility. And those who find themselves unable to take advantage of more traditional business training opportunities should also consider this.
Zinsmeister explains further. “Particularly for women, flexibility is the name of the game, since we often have to play so many different roles. Not only in business, but even today women usually take the primary role when it comes to raising their families and taking care of their households. So if they need to develop the skills to become an entrepreneur or take on a new role for a promotion, it’s nice if you’re able to engage with them on a computer, tablet or other device when they at home or on the go.”
The online format serves to make high quality training a bit more accessible. This allows it to appeal to a wide array of people. Anyone who would normally have a hard time accessing live, in-person training, like those with cost or time concerns or those who live in rural areas, can still access high quality courses and learning opportunities. It’s also open to anyone who wants to sign up, including business owners and professionals who want to make the most of traditional career opportunities.
Online training isn’t exactly a new concept. Educational institutions and businesses have been offering courses and webinars online for years. But Dale Carnegie Training actually waited to launch an online learning platform until they felt that the technology could support an experience that would live up to their high standards.
Zinsmeister says, “We were waiting for the tech to catch up with what we do best, which is actually creating engagement. Rather than creating a flat platform where you just get a slide deck and take a quiz at the end, we wanted the tech to support an experience that’s very similar to what we can offer in our other trainings.”
Dale Carnegie Training isn’t the only example of how technology is making entrepreneurship more accessible for women entrepreneurs and those in other traditionally underrepresented groups. Zinsmeister also pointed out how social platforms like LinkedIn can help people make valuable business connections even when they’re not able to attend lots of live networking events. This can help people form partnerships, find mentors and promote offerings to potential clients without a huge cost or time commitment.
All of these factors are beneficial to all types of business owners. But they seem to be having a major impact on women, since they address many of the challenges that women have faced throughout the years, like cost, convenience and connections. Since the rates of entrepreneurship among women have been rising so much in recent years, it seems like these innovations may be making an impact already.