Women’s entrepreneurship is a field that is becoming increasingly interesting to the creators of macroeconomic policies, who are becoming more and more aware of the benefits that a greater involvement of women in entrepreneurship presents to the economy. We are definitely living in a time in which the differences between the impact of men and women on the global economy are being continuously diminished.
Of course, the dynamics of this trend vary from one country to another. One of the first projects in the career of the author of this text was to compare the influence of women’s entrepreneurship on the economies of the countries in the region, on behalf of the competent ministry. The results of the analysis clearly showed a positive correlation between an increase in the share of women’s entrepreneurship and the general economic movements in individual countries.
An interesting fact in connection to women’s entrepreneurship was that companies controlled by women were, on average, smaller, but their business activities involved fewer risks than companies controlled by men.
An explanation for this can be that women entrepreneurs tend to be more careful than their male counterparts, but also that they want to build success systematically and gradually, without skipping steps in order to achieve instant results. However, as was mentioned earlier, every country is specific when women’s entrepreneurship is concerned, starting from the very definition of women’s entrepreneurship.
COMPARING WOMEN’S ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
Differences in legislation and data availability pose a significant difficulty when comparing women’s entrepreneurship in different countries. In some countries, the ownership structure of each company is clearly presented, making it quite easy to ascertain the extent of the influence of women. In other countries, only a list of persons involved in a company is available, without clear indications of their roles. In those cases, it is definitely not easy to ascertain the influence women have on the business of certain companies. Furthermore, the availability of financial data varies. While complete financial reports are available for analysis in some countries, only some financial information on companies is available in others.
This presented a challenge for the Bisnode Group. We wanted to use the most comprehensive database on women’s entrepreneurship in Europe at our disposal to create an index that will unambiguously and realistically portray the influence of women’s entrepreneurship on the economies of individual countries. The index was named the “Bisnode Index of Women Influence“, or BIWI for short. The selection of indicators used for assessing the influence of women’s entrepreneurship was based on their availability and relevance.
Four indicators were selected as the most adequate ones for the newly designed index:
– the shares of women entrepreneurs in the number of companies,
– the number of employees,
– revenues and
– net profit.
Ten countries in which the Bisnode Group is present were included in the initial creation of the BIWI. The share of companies controlled by women was the basis for calculating the index. Women’s companies are defined as companies in which at least one woman holds at least one of these three potential roles: owner, CEO, President of the Supervisory Board.
Based on the available data, Hungary has the largest share of companies controlled by women, while Slovenia has the smallest.
The share of women’s companies in the total number of companies alone cannot represent an estimate of the general influence of women on the economy, seeing as the influence of companies on the economy varies. Therefore, a combination of the shares of companies controlled by women in the total number of employees, earned revenues and net profit was added to the original calculation.
Sweden is an example of a country where the share of women’s companies is not big, but their influence on the economy, measured by the three indicators previously mentioned, is exceptionally large. The average influence of women’s entrepreneurship measured by the BIWI on the level of all ten analysed countries was 100. Countries with an index greater than that have an influence of women’s entrepreneurship above the average value of all ten analysed countries.
SWEDEN ON TOP, SLOVENIA AT THE BOTTOM
The analysis has shown that the influence of women’s entrepreneurship is greatest in Sweden, followed by Hungary whose index is somewhat lower. An above average BIWI is also present in Serbia, Austria and Poland. However, not all relevant data were available in the latter two countries, meaning that the influence of women’s entrepreneurship in those countries was measured using a reduced data set. Norway is just below the average, followed by Belgium, the Czech Republic, Croatia and Slovenia, with the lowest BIWI.
Slovenia’s BIWI would have been even lower if the share of women’s companies in the total number of companies was the only indicator. However, the high profitability of women’s entrepreneurship and solid shares in the number of employees and earned revenues raised the value of the index.
According to available data, only 9.44 % of companies in Slovenia are controlled by women. This is significantly lower than in other countries included in the analysis, where, on average, 25.57 % of companies are controlled by women.
According to the analysis of the average number of employees in companies controlled by women, Slovenia is in fourth place, behind Sweden, Norway and Hungary, with an average of 3.5 employees per company. Slovenia also ranks fourth according to average revenues per company owned by women, with revenues slightly above EUR 500,000. Sweden, Norway and Serbia are the only countries ahead of Slovenia. The average profitability of Slovenian companies owned by women is 9 % greater than the economy’s average. Only Sweden is ahead of Slovenia.
It can therefore be concluded that the business activities of women entrepreneurs in Slovenia are above average when compared to other analysed countries. However, the overall influence on the entire economy is lower when compared to the other countries due to the significantly smaller share of women’s companies in Slovenia. This means that Slovenia will have to increase the share of women holding key positions in companies in order to improve the BIWI in the future.
Author: Branimir Kovačić, Senior financial analyst Bisnode.