Premier global nutrition company, Herbalife Nutrition, released new findings from its second annual Global Entrepreneurship Survey 2020, which revealed that women in Southeast Asia have stronger entrepreneurial aspirations compared to women across the globe. According to the survey findings, four in five women (81%) in Southeast Asia aspire to be entrepreneurs, higher than the global average of 72%, with the desire to become entrepreneurs being most pronounced among the Generation Z and Millennials aged 18 to 39.
Conducted by OnePoll in March and April 2020, the Herbalife Nutrition Global Entrepreneurship Survey 2020 polled 9,000 women, including 2,000 women from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore on their attitudes towards entrepreneurship. Beyond uncovering the entrepreneurial ambitions of women in Southeast Asia, the survey found that practical reasons took precedence as the top motivators for entrepreneurship during this time. When asked about their motivations for starting their own business, the need to support their family (56%), the desire to become their own boss (54%) and the desire for a career change (53%) emerged tops, ahead of other reasons such as wanting more flexibility in their job (45%) and following their passion (41%).
Financial concerns surrounding entrepreneurship weigh heavy on women’s minds
While the survey revealed that four in five women (81%) in Southeast Asia aspire to be entrepreneurs, only three in five women (59%) have taken actual steps to start their own business. Key barriers that prevent them from doing so include:
- The initial cost to open a business (58%)
- Lack of financing and market knowledge support (46%)
Despite these concerns, the potential to grow their income was the top benefit associated with entrepreneurship by 63% of women in Southeast Asia, followed by the ability to better support their family (51%) and the potential to earn what they believe they are worth (49%).
Aspiring women entrepreneurs want to become role models for younger women
Beyond the lure of income, 84% of Southeast Asian women said that a key driver for entrepreneurship is their desire to become a role model for younger women. Additionally, close to seven in 10 (67%) said that they want to help break the glass ceiling for women through their entrepreneurship endeavors.
Overall, close to four in five women (77%) in Southeast Asia believing that women have to work harder to be given the same opportunities in the workplace, they also see entrepreneurship as a means to open up new opportunities for other women in the region. In fact:
- 58% of women in Southeast Asia want to offer opportunities for career advancement to other women through entrepreneurship
- 56% want to give women more positive female role models
- 54% want to use entrepreneurship as an opportunity to showcase the differentiated skills that women have compared to men
Financial support, market knowledge and mentorship key to women in entrepreneurship
To help Southeast Asian women take the first step out to start their own business, the following were highlighted as key building blocks for their entrepreneurship journey:
- Sufficient business and financial knowledge (73%)
- Sufficient savings or financial stability (71%)
- A supportive family (64%)
- Ability to operate a home-based business (64%)
- A mentor to guide them in my entrepreneurship journey (61%)
- Ability to work on their business part-time until they are ready to go full-time (51%)
While the road to entrepreneurship may not be smooth-sailing, seven in 10 (70%) women in Southeast Asia believe that the journey will be life-changing, while six in 10 (64%) believe that it will be inspiring.