This year, WeXchange released a study on the status and challenges of female entrepreneurs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) areas in Latin America and the Caribbean. The report appropriately dubbed these women “STEMpreneurs.”
Anywho, with International Women’s Day right around the corner, it’s important we read up and get some perspective. Specifically to learn more about how the region is faring in terms of entrepreneurship in STEM.
Highlights on women and STEM entrepreneurship
Following a survey distributed among 1,148 respondents, here are the key takeaways WeXchange found:
- 54 percent of these STEMpreneurs have raised capital through angel investors, seed funding, or venture capital (VC) firms.
- 79 percent of STEMpreneurs with mentors tapped into formal sources of equity.
- 79 percent of these STEM ventures are operating in only one market.
- 87 percent of the STEMpreneurs want to expand their business beyond their domestic market.
- The predominant sectors in which those surveyed would categorize their business are e-commerce, edtech, healthtech, adtech, and fintech.
Connecting the dots and challenges
At a quick glance, these findings shine a hopeful light.
However, there’s still a lot of ground for female STEMpreneurs and non-STEM entrepreneurs to cover.
Despite the 54 percent of survey respondents raising equity, they also acknowledged that one of the largest challenges they face is the lack of financing and access to capital.
And when it comes to perceptions in what deters their fellow female entrepreneurs, the largest challenge is achieving a work/life balance. Ongoing social pressure to be a successful businesswoman but also a responsible mother no doubt represents a challenge for survey respondents.
In regards to raising capital, the toughest part women face is the lack of the necessary networks to access key investors. Surely, a warm welcome can go a long way. But when these women lack someone who can help them make the necessary introductions it’s difficult.
On that note, accelerators, VCs, and other organizations that seek to mentor and work with women and their startups play a critical role in their overall growth in Latin America.
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