On Thursday, November 19, I was thrilled to be part of a growing movement – based here in New York – but with implications that reach around the world.
You see, November 19 has been proclaimed Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and there was a celebration at the United Nations where I shared how MasterCard has long been a supporter of entrepreneurship in general, and women’s efforts specifically.
It’s no secret that women are vital contributors to the global economy. And they can be even more so with greater representation, recognition and support. As the President of Habitare Desarrollos & Movimiento Civico Nacional, Rodrigo Arenas said, “When you help a guy, you help a guy. When you help a girl, you help four or five people.”
MasterCard seeks to offer that help through our public-private partnerships and The Center for Inclusive Growth; our support of STEM education programs, which are giving young girls the skills they’ll need to be more competitive when looking for higher education and jobs; and of course our technology. Electronic payments allow women to participate in the modern economy – buy things online for the best price; receive benefits through a prepaid card; have more control over the management of their family’s finances.
Think about this. Women are expected to control approximately $28 trillion dollars in consumer spending this year. And in the U.S., Forbes Magazine points out that women-owned businesses, which already number nearly 10 million – are starting up at twice the rate of male-owned businesses. But women receive just 7% of venture capital dollars. And less than 5% of federal contracts. And women entrepreneurs account for less than 5% of the total value of all conventional business loans.
Women like Christine Souffrant and Anna Stork are succeeding despite those facts. Souffrant and Stork are MasterCard –Small Business Priceless Elevator-pitch winners; they spoke eloquently about the successes and challenges facing women entrepreneurs.
It was wonderful to see so many successful women in one place … at MasterCard, we think a future where women are afforded the same opportunities as men is Priceless.