23 de November 2020
Startups in Bogota, a sector led by women
According to a survey conducted by Invest in Bogotá, 72% of the businesses in the capital has women on their boards of directors; however, many challenges still remain to increase this percentage.
The presence of women in business is increasingly growing. According to figures from the World Bank, in Latin America and the Caribbean, 50% of companies have a woman among its main owners. In the case of Bogota, 72% of the enterprises have a woman on their board of directors, according to data from Invest in Bogota.
For Natalia Marenco, from Just Be - Woman Power, an exclusive training and wellness center for women, this figure is very positive, “to the extent that in large companies this percentage reaches 17%. This means that in startups there are fewer access barriers for women, an aspect that should be transferred to all sectors at all management levels ”.
For her part, Daniela Peñaranda, founder of Veterinario Online, a startup whose board of directors is made up entirely of women, affirms that “the space and opportunities are open for more and more women to dare to start their own businesses and receive support from these ecosystems ”.
And in fact having women in high positions not only means closing gender gaps, it also represents a better corporate reputation and the possibility of complementing visions and experiences.
A clear example of the above is the motivation that women have to start their own business. According to the global report of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2019/2020, in 36 of the 50 countries studied, women chose that their greatest incentive to create a business is to be able to make a difference in the world and secure a means to live, while men mostly chose incentives such as earning a large sum of money or continuing a family tradition.
On the other hand, the high number of women in managerial positions in startups contrasts with the total participation of women in startups, which is reduced to 28%, according to data from the survey done by Invest in Bogota, an entity which works as a liaison within the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the capital of Colombia, a city with the second best entrepreneurship ecosystem in Latin America, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Network.
“According to the PAR AEQUALES ranking, which measures the progress in gender equality of organizations in Latin America, Colombia in 2020 – with a 24% - is below the average in Latin America (26%). For the country and its capital, it is very important to promote not only women founders and creators of startups, but also to promote their presence on boards of directors, conscious that companies register higher returns when they employ women in high positions, as stated in a report by the International Labor Organization (ILO) ”, stated Carolina Duran, District Secretary of Economic Development.
Along the same lines, Natalia Vargas, CMO of Lentesplus, believes that “women can contribute by making a gender balance and with creativity, where they are usually a very important creative door. In this sense, it is critical that the role of women continues to be strengthened in the ecosystems of entrepreneurs. (…) This is a red flag to review how women entrepreneurs can further be encouraged to strengthen the ecosystem in the country”.
The challenges of closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship are still high, since it is not only about the number of people hired in a company; it is about really changing the structures that do not allow women to easily access these sectors.
Among the difficulties that entrepreneurs such as Marenco and Peñaranda evidence for females to become more relevant in the sector, are the difficulties to obtain financing, the small number of women with training in STEM disciplines and the lack of time, since women still have to dedicate a large part of their hours to housework and care.