Diversity fosters innovation, and a balance of male and female experience and intelligence in leadership can help promote greater creative collaboration. More women entrepreneurs are coming in with significant benefits to the economy and society, but with better and more mature access to better financial education. To deliver this approach, leaders in the financial industry and industries with financial issues can provide their expertise to more people, especially women, at a younger age.
Start Financial Education Early
Startups often fail within the first five years for a variety of reasons, including funding. An entrepreneur may receive money from an investor, but later they may lack the skills necessary to manage and sustain that money. With access to financial literacy earlier in life, these same entrepreneurs have the ability to make better decisions about their education. The entry point is to build a foundation in high school or college, but many schools do not offer financial education as a separate class. Typical high school careers can fail in financial health, leaving many young women and men entering the professional world with limited ability to make healthy decisions on their own.
Educating farmers, especially women, about financial management earlier can put them on the right path. We learn, retain and adapt to new information better when we are still young. Those who are immersed in financial literacy as children provide us with a better supply of those skills to have as adults. We accept good and bad behavior; without correction instilled and carried over into adulthood.
Most of us think we can control money. For some lucky people, they could be children of memory. For most of them, it was probably after college: getting their first apartment and trying not to pay rent or getting a credit card and up to $20,000 in debt. These financial mistakes in your youth become permanent problems that can become more and more difficult to fix; while building basic skills, we need to navigate financial milestones, the sooner the better.
Focus on Training and Mentorship
To go about his business, an entrepreneur must know how to manage the money related to it: Topics such as savings, budgeting, investing, managing debt, loans and credit, and measuring the financial health of a small business. Even those who have never become successful from this exercise. Financial literacy is a key skill needed at every stage of life: from managing a credit card or buying a home to student debt and unemployment. On this basis, many women decide on ways to success – starting a business, managing their finances or whatever they do.
This is where programs and partnerships can arise. In the summer of 2016, my company started a five-week leadership program for high school girls, including teachers and coaches, providing free basic education in financial matters. It was an impulse to be able to offer the opportunity for free, which was subject to barriers for attendees.
To develop business and financial literacy and open new doors, women need access to memory and professional networks. Our Women Speaking series invites women with stories of business success and failure to come and talk to young people about their experiences. We’ve created a group of past Bossgirls alumni to share their journeys from the program, and many of our guest speakers are returning, describing their own learning experiences and encouraging new Bossgirls leaders.
Many people lead
If we want to encourage women entrepreneurs, more people need to take action. Leaders in education or volunteer programming looking to implement women’s entrepreneurship should partner with schools and colleges to set up a financial institution. Institutional teachers with access to youth can also seek partnerships with programs like ours and others to bring financial literacy to more students. Some of our volunteers have no experience in finance but aim to connect with young people about savings, checking and basic financial skills.
Anyone who can educate can make a difference in the area of financial education. An incubator in college can help young women build an entrepreneurial mindset: entrepreneurial skills, present and pitch ideas, work as a team and solve problems. Not everyone will go on to create a company, but they will leave with the skills to think quickly on their feet.
To encourage more female entrepreneurs, we must look to increase access to financial literacy and support the chances of success. With the opportunities to learn those skills, families can break the cycle of generational poverty, and more women can enter into different perspectives of leadership. Financial skills are the starting point for building the life you want. A start-up company, traveling the world, gets a pet – knowing how to manage money can make anything more possible.