Women, entrepreneurship and the future of work

Sydney Coworking Space, Flexispace, No. 1 Martin Place

Women, entrepreneurship and the future of work

Global statistics show that women are increasingly becoming business operators, with an estimated 163 million women starting new businesses in 74 economies around the world according to the 2016/2017 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM).

Not only that, Australian women are right up there leading the charge. The same report showed that Australia ranks second in the world just after the United States as the best place for female entrepreneurship.

The growth in female owner-operators is happening at a faster rate than men, with the number of female owner managers up 7.6% over the last decade (now at 504,838), compared to a rise of just 0.3% for men.

This rise is partly due to factors such as increasing childcare costs, lack of flexibility in the workplace, and frustrations caused by workplace inequalities. Beyond that however, women often cite positive factors like the ability to set their own agendas, achieve greater personal fulfilment, and shape their own success.

E-commerce sets the pace for future work

The rise of the e-commerce industry has further opened up a world of opportunities for women. Technology makes it easier than ever before to launch a business from anywhere and conduct it entirely online providing freedom from traditional work hours and places.

A UK study, conducted by eBay using government data, revealed that the number of female entrepreneurs in online retail has grown faster than the rate of male e-commerce entrepreneurs. In the UK alone, the number of self-employed women in online retail rose by 28% between 2009 and 2014.

E-commerce businesses thrive on social media to build brands, raise product awareness, grow audiences and generate sales leads online. Here too women are often in their element because of their familiarity and use of social channels as part of their everyday lives. 53% of Facebook users are female, 68% of Instagram users and a whopping 81% of Pinterest users.

Five Australian female entrepreneurs making it big in e-commerce

As we celebrate International Women’s Day this March, here are just a few of the Australian female entrepreneurs who are doing amazing things online, and generating significant wealth in the process.

1. Melanie Perkins, Canva
Perkins is the co-founder of Sydney-based Canva, the popular graphic design platform built for people with no design experience. The company is now worth over $US1 billion.

2. Jane Lu, ShowPo
Online retail outlet ShowPo is a lean machine powered by social media, over 2 million followers, and more than A$30 million in annual sales.

3. Julie Stevanja, Stylerunner
Stevanja launched online activewear store Stylerunner with her sister in 2012, growing a massive 1736% to an estimated company value of $50 million within the first three years of the business.

4. Cyan Ta’eed, Envator
Ta’eed co-founded technology marketplace Envato in 2006 and grew the company to 348 staff and a turnover of $US72 million by 2016.

5. Bridget Loudon and Emily Yue, Expert360
The co-founders behind Expert360, a platform for connecting with freelance strategy, marketing and finance consultants which boasts more than 3500 consultants across 50 countries.

The world of work is evolving to meet changing needs

As an increasing number of women change their work practices, and the demands of younger generations for flexibility grow, there is a systematic shift underway within the world of work, both in traditional workplaces as well as more entrepreneurial ventures.

That’s no surprise when flexible work policies are cited as one of the main reasons for people wanting to work at the top 25 companies in Australia, according to LinkedIn.

In companies, flexible working arrangements have been increasing steadily over the past 4-5 years. According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, companies with flexible working arrangements policy have increased from 47% in 2014 to 56% in 2018 while those providing flexible hours of work increased from 57% to 62% in the same period. Other flexible policies on the increase include carer’s leaver, telecommuting, job sharing, and purchased leave.

Outside of the more traditional workplaces, entrepreneurs are embracing different styles of working from the ‘start up garage’ or home office to professional co-working spaces that provide flexibility, facilities, collaboration and networking opportunities. The future, it seems, is flexible.

Find out more about flexible co-working spaces for entrepreneurs, freelancers and corporates alike. Call our friendly team today and experience the Flexispace difference.

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