Sydney has been ranked 11th in a list of the top 50 cities globally for women entrepreneurs, with Melbourne also making the list, in 17th place.
Assessing cities on characteristics including culture, talent, technology, and access to capital and markets, the 2017 Women Entrepreneur Cities Index, released by Dell in conjunction with IHS Markit, found Sydney has a strong percentage of major business associations headed by women leaders, a presence of organisations dedicated to women’s equality issues, and a strong entrepreneurial network.
Sydney also nabbed a high score for the percentage of women in parliament and the fact it has had a female mayor, Clover Moore, for the last three terms.
Overall, Sydney achieved a score of 45.4 out of 100, while top-ranked New York City scored 62.9.
Among the areas where Sydney scored its lowest points were cost of living, cost of technology value, and frequency of funding and women’s capital base, with only a small percentage of funding going towards startups founded or cofounded by women and few VC firms with greater than 20 percent female partners.
Karen Quinton, executive vice president and chief customer officer at Dell, said, “Women’s entrepreneurship rates rose globally by 13 percent in 2017, reflecting broader momentum of increased female representation across the public and private sectors in many regions around the world.
“However, access to capital and technology, as well as cultural and political barriers, continue to limit the success of women-owned businesses.”
That women entrepreneurs face greater challenges in accessing capital is by now a well known fact; despite this, a recent report from the Boston Consulting Group and accelerator MassChallenge found that though they receive less funding than male-founded ventures, women-owned companies are generating more revenue.
Looking at data on investment funding and revenue generated by 350 US-based startups over five years, the report revealed women-founded startups generate 78 US cents for every dollar of funding, compared to 31 US cents for those founded by men.
With the 350 startups included in the study all MassChallenge alumni, the report found startups founded or cofounded by women received, on average, US$935,000 in venture capital funding – half the US$2.12 million raised by male-founded companie – but generated 10 percent more in cumulative revenue over five years, US$730,000 compared to US$662,000.
In Australia, the 2017 Startup Muster report found the percentage of female founders grew slightly in 2017, from 25.4 percent to 23.5 percent; the growth has been steady since Startup Muster first ran in 2014, when 16.1 percent of founders were female.
The future too looks bright, with the 2017 report finding 37 percent of future founders are female.
Looking more broadly across the spectrum, data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics found women make up 34 percent of all small business operators, with this an increase of 46 percent over the past two decades.
To further boost these numbers and support female entrepreneurs, the report provided a ‘blueprint for action’, urging investment in tech infrastructure to help women grow their business, and the promotion of female representation on the boards of industry groups to provide role models for young entrepreneurs.
The report also urged the creation of policies that give women more access to capital, including working towards equal pay, stating they will be important in encouraging women to pursue entrepreneurial opportunities.
Further policies that improve work/life balance, and a commitment to encourage employees to take advantage of those policies, may also help women take on leadership roles, the report stated.