How many women CEOs do you know? 

In many cases, women have to hustle harder and smarter than their male counterparts to get ahead in the business world. This is why it’s more important than ever for female entrepreneurs to have the right support system in place for them, especially from governments, to become successful. 

Now, there are a number of ways that countries can support the well-being and careers of female entrepreneurs, including:

  • Placing policies and regulations that help to encourage and enable women to start and grow their businesses
  • Providing access to finance and business mentoring programmes
  • Ensuring an excellent work-life balance for women in business
  • Closing the entrepreneurial gender gap by encouraging young women in schools

So, which countries are doing the most to support female entrepreneurs? First, let’s look at the Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurs (MIWE) for 2021, which analyses how women entrepreneurs thrive across 65 global economies and comprises 82.4 per cent of the world’s female labour force.

Top 5 Countries for Women Entrepreneurs

The United States of America, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, and Switzerland took the first 5 spots, propelled by solid scores regarding women’s advancement outcomes, knowledge assets and financial access, and entrepreneurial supporting conditions. 

Now let’s dive further into what these countries are doing differently:

1. The United States of America

The United States of America (USA) ranked first as the greatest place for women to start and grow their businesses. This is because US government has numerous initiatives designed to help women succeed in business, such as the Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership, which provides support and advice to women starting their businesses.

There is also access to finance and mentoring programmes for women entrepreneurs in the USA like:

Another key reason why the USA is such a great place for women entrepreneurs is that there’s a strong culture of innovation. This culture encourages people to take risks and strive for success. As a result, as of the first quarter of 2022, the woman-led Fortune 500 companies hit a record high of 44 CEOs

Many private organisations in the country support female entrepreneurs. For example, SheEO is a global organisation based in the USA that provides financing and support to women-led businesses.

2. New Zealand

Second on the list is New Zealand (NZ), which showed an impressive jump from fourth place in 2020. Like the USA, several initiatives are designed to help women succeed in business. For example, the NZ government established the Ministry for Women which serves as the principal advisor on improving the lives of Kiwi women.

As a whole nation, New Zealand continues to create progress in terms of the following:

  • Educational resources
  • Diversity in funding options
  • Programmes supporting women
  • Networks to support and boost female entrepreneurship 

Moreover, they encourage women to break traditional gender roles and enter the business industry. As of 2022, the women leading startups in NZ are currently at 21.6 percent which is 1.6 percent better than the global average of 20 percent.

Many private also organisations support women in business in New Zealand, such as: 

  • Women’s Enterprise Network (WEN) works towards empowering women by providing them with knowledge and inspiration to become business leaders.
  • ArcAngels focuses on building investor knowledge and investing in early-stage businesses led or managed by women across New Zealand.

Another reason NZ is an excellent place for female entrepreneurs is because of the possible work-life balance in the country. They can enjoy a work-life balance primarily because of the numerous policies supporting working mothers, such as paid parental leave and flexible working arrangements. This helps make it easier for women to start and grow their businesses, even when they start having a family.

3. Canada

In third is Canada, for providing strong support for female entrepreneurs. In fact, the Canadian government has been pushing tons of services and assistance for the growth of women-owned businesses in the country. 

Just some of the Canadian government’s initiatives are:

  • Women’s Enterprise Initiative provides financing, mentoring, and resources to help women start and boost their businesses.
  • Women Entrepreneurship Strategy is a comprehensive plan to help women grow their businesses by providing increased access to financing, talent, networks, and mentorship.
  • Pay Equity is part of their goal of achieving gender equality in the country and closing the gender wage gap.

Beyond this, lots of private organisations are also supporting female entrepreneurs in Canada. One organisation is Futurpreneur Canada which provides financing and mentoring to young women-led businesses.

4. Australia

As of 2021, at least two-thirds of new businesses in Australia for the past decade were founded by Women. Add to that, there has also been a 46 percent increase in women business owners over the past 20 years. With this, we can see how more and more women are jumping into a male-dominated industry in Australia.

One thing that helps boost the confidence among women is the many assistance the Australian government has provided to grow women-led businesses, such as the following:

The program focuses on helping female entrepreneurs who want to scale operations locally & globally and overcome the disadvantages they face regarding access to finance and support to grow their startups.

The Chamber focuses on offering business loans and mentoring to women-owned businesses across Australia.

This government initiative drives gender equality in Australia’s leadership and workforce through flexibility, innovation, and inclusivity. It also encourages more women to hold leadership roles at all levels.

As the government has shown support to women entrepreneurs, it’s encouraged more private organisations to assist them too.

5. Switzerland

Finally, we have Switzerland; this country has been known to be a great place to live and work in, and this is also true for female entrepreneurs. Switzerland provides several benefits that make it easier for women to start and grow their businesses. 

Some Swiss policies that support women include:

  • Generous maternity leave: The maternity leave in Switzerland is 14 weeks long, with benefits amounting to 80% of the mother’s earnings. This allows new mothers to take the time they need to bond with their babies without worrying about losing income.
  • Flexible working arrangements: Many companies in Switzerland offer flexible working arrangements by only expecting the percentage of work they need from employees. With this, it’s easier for women to have a work-life balance.

The Swiss government also offers numerous programs and initiatives to support female entrepreneurs. These include the following: 

  • Equal Opportunities Program: The country’s principle of equal pay for work of equal value for women and men is enshrined in the Federal Constitution and the Gender Equality Act. Moreover, the government only gives public procurement and mandates to companies that respect equal pay for women and men.
  • Better Representation for Women: In 2019, the Swiss parliament approved the government’s proposal for women to have better representation at the top level of large publicly traded companies. The regulation calls for at least 30% of positions on the boards of directors & 20% on executive boards over the next 5 and 10 years, respectively.

The Swiss government continues to take significant strides towards providing equal opportunity for women in the business industry. Apart from the government, private organisations are also working to provide the needed finance and business mentoring programmes for women-led businesses.

Female Entrepreneurs Have a Place in Every Country

Today, the world is slowly opening up and seeing the importance of women in the success of the global market, meaning that we are going in the direction where all female business owners will finally have a place in every country. 

The key reasons why these countries are so supportive of women in business are because of the government initiatives that are in place to support the growth of women-owned businesses and the strong focus on gender equality.