Research shows that the average age of a successful entrepreneur is 40 years old. One could speculate as to why but one likely reason is that a person in the mid point of their career has gained valuable skills both directly related to their field and also in the business world in general. In addition, the large majority of job creation comes from the business startup community. Although larger, established businesses are responsible for long term sustainability of the job market, they aren’t, in large part, causing a dramatic rise in available jobs.
It is for these reasons that the Ewing Kauffman Foundation has made it their focus to support small business growth as well as the growth of the individual entrepreneur. Recently, the Kauffman Foundation announced a grant to help produce materials that can replicate The ACTiVATE Program. This program was developed by the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 2005 as a training program to help female entrepreneurs start their own technology based businesses. The training model has been studied extensively and found to be a cost effective means of transforming women in to business owners.
Recent studies show that in some countries there are more women graduating from college than men and from 1997 to 2004, women-led businesses had an annual growth rate of 23% compared to all other businesses which only grew 10%. In 2008 more than 10% of businesses had a majority stake belonging to women and these companies were responsible for $1.9 trillion in annual sales.
Although these facts are impressive, the ACTiVATE program exists because of another set of facts. In many countries the large majority of underemployed or unemployed workers are women and only 3% of women owned businesses have more than $1 million in annual sales compared to 6% of male owned businesses. The ACTiVATE program has made it their mission to turn these statistics around.
The Kauffman Foundation grant is being used as a way to take ACTiVATE in to communities around the world as a way to train and empower women. Materials are currently being developed to make the program in to a turnkey businesses allowing locations to open in communities large and small and the Kauffman Foundation grant will be a large part of that.
New research shows that women are poised to be a driver of the next wave of growth in global technology and the Kauffman Foundation as well as the ACTiVATE program will be right there to help lead the charge in empowering female business owners.