The company believes these three key learnings, if supported by local governments, can add up to big changes for women-owned businesses globally.
Dell Technologies has proposed three policy recommendations designed to provide city leaders and policymakers with actionable, data-driven research on the landscape for women.
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Following the publication of its 2019 Women Entrepreneur Cities (WE Cities) Index, which ranked 50 global cities based on their ability to foster the growth of women-owned businesses, the company called on both the private and public sector to take action.
“Women are critical to our economy, starting businesses at exponential rates. While these businesses contribute greatly to the economy and society, their ultimate potential for impact can be limited due to the financial, cultural, and political barriers women often face as they scale their businesses,” the company said.
Based on these findings from the WE Cities Index — which saw San Francisco’s Bay Area take pole position but still fall short, Dell has developed a set of global policy recommendations.
1. Access to, and development of, financial and human capital
Dell believes financial and human capital are essential elements of fostering women’s entrepreneurship. This can be supported through incentives for individuals and organisations to invest in women-owned companies through venture funds, corporate venture, private equity, and social capital.
It also requires the modernisation of existing government certification, grant, and loan programs that help women-owned businesses compete to reflect changing investment models. Government programs should also be more heavily marketed and promoted under Dell’s proposed model.
Creating new sources of capital such as crowdfunding and impact investments, as well as the fostering of small-business lending programs should be supported.
Dell said enterprise corporations, federal departments, and state/local contracts should also focus on diversity, with a percentage of contracts to be awarded to women-owned businesses.
Further, the government should incentivise the adoption of family-friendly policies including access to affordable child care, elder care, and paid family leave policies.
2. Access to local and global networks and markets
As women entrepreneurs and business owners turn to each other for help, Dell has asked government and business leaders help facilitate connections by increasing access to local and global networks and markets.
This can be done through supporting trade agreements that “further liberalise trade” and open new markets for businesses of all sizes; as well as by promoting global and open standards, and reliable mechanisms for cross-border data transfers and business support services and networks, while providing sufficient protections for privacy and information security.
The company is also asking for the support of mentorship efforts, financially and through encouragement of multiplier platforms such as accelerators, continuing education and training programs, and facilitated networking events.
Additionally, encouraging conscious placement of women on boards, in venture partnerships, and on executive teams.
Dell also wants to see the promotion of positive success stories of female founders and business owners.
3. Help in the changing face of technology
Finally, Dell said it sees technology-driven improvements for both government and business if government and business leaders help women entrepreneurs thrive in the changing-face of technology.
This can be done through streamlining the process of partnering and applying for government resources; emphasising science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and digital literacy in education and early training programs; and working with business leaders and educators to encourage technology training programs to end unconscious biases in the STEM fields, government, corporations, and institutions.
Dell also believes enabling access to broadband globally is of upmost importance.
Additionally, increasing awareness of options that women have to the hardware, software, and digital resources they need to scale their companies was highlighted as a way to help women entrepreneurs thrive.
Disclaimer: Asha Barbaschow travelled to DWEN as a guest of Dell Technologies