Men traditionally rule the startup world. Particularly when it comes to technology startups. However, an increasing number of women entrepreneurs are driving business innovation in the emerging markets.
While there are still gender challenges, women in the emerging markets are overcoming obstacles to break through the glass ceiling. As these developing countries advance technologically, and become increasingly startup-savvy, women are helping to revolutionize the business landscapes in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.
And it’s not only individual businesses that are affected by the presence of women at C-level. According to a recent report from EY, tapping into women’s economic potential could have the equivalent effect of an additional one billion people in business and in the workforce.
In the Middle East, significant change is underway. Currently, over a third of startups are founded by women - with females fighting against common stereotypes to achieve business success through female-run companies. These women are independent, young, well-educated, and increasingly tech-savvy. One such example of this is WOMENA, a Dubai-based network which comprises high net worth female investors.
From managing directors, to frontend developers, co-founders to product managers, global real estate portal, Lamudi, employs women from all over the world to lead its international teams. In Africa, Lamudi has recently appointed Akua Nyame-Mensah as the new managing director of Lamudi Nigeria. Akua is currently the MD of Lamudi Ghana , the leading property portal in Ghana, and will continue to drive the development of the company in both countries.
According to Akua Nyame-Mensah, “We are in the world where the trends keep changing. It is now very common to see women in all fields especially in the areas which used to be predominantly male-dominated. It's exciting to see that changing and to see more women taking up roles in real estate and technology especially.”
Female entrepreneurs in Kenya are becoming increasingly high-profile. As a result, programs have been put in place to support future growth, including Akirachix, co-founded by a group of 12 women who teach girls about coding and entrepreneurship. The Kenyan Ministry of Devolution and Planning has even launched the Women Enterprise Fund, to support women as they start and develop their businesses.
Meanwhile, in Asia, Lamudi Myanmar was founded by young female entrepreneur Jacqueline van den Ende, who was invited to speak at the Asia CEO Young Leaders’ Summit earlier this year.
“Women are standing up and demanding the global business stage. I believe that as women in a male-dominated environment, we are in a position of strength; we have the power to bring something unique to the table, to create a motivated and collaborative company culture, and to educate and encourage other women to embrace entrepreneurship.” Concluded van den Ende.