The second annual Gender-Global Entrepreneurship and Development Index (GEDI), commissioned by Dell, has revealed that Australia is one of the three best countries in the world for female entrepreneurship.
With a score of 80 on a 100-point scale, Australia ranks second amongst 30 countries surveyed, coming in behind the United States at 83 and ahead of Sweden with 73.
Australia, which is also the best performing country from the Asia Pacific Japan region for the second year in a row, has been recognised for providing a good environment to start a business as well as having a high percentage of highly educated female business owners.
Australia also has the most female-owned tech start-ups out of the 30 countries studied.
What is Dell’s Gender-GEDI Index all about?
The index focuses on high potential female entrepreneurs who are defined as ‘innovative, market-expanding and export-oriented.’ It is worth noting however that the research is not meant to merely provide a headcount of female entrepreneurs worldwide.
Rather, it is designed to guide leaders, policymakers and law-makers in identifying country-wide strengths and weaknesses and developing strategies to create more favourable conditions in their countries to enable businesses founded by women to thrive.
Karen Quintos, senior vice president at Dell, explained their goal, “We believe awareness of the current landscape for women entrepreneurship is the first step toward change.”
In compiling the index, Dell collaborated with several leading change agents such as the U.S. Department of State, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), World Bank, Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), Vital Voices and WEConnect International.
What are the findings of the 2014 Gender-GEDI Index?
More than 75 per cent of the 30 countries surveyed this year are not meeting the most fundamental conditions required for female entrepreneurs to prosper.
Among the 17 countries surveyed in both 2013 and 2014, four increased their rankings, including India and Japan in the Asia Pacific Japan region, while four showed a decline; Malaysia, Egypt, Mexico and Morocco. The rest didn’t change much over the two years.
This year’s Gender-GEDI report demonstrates that top-performing countries are not necessarily the ones with the highest GDP levels; rather they are those who have made the effort to improve the conditions for female entrepreneurs on several fronts simultaneously.
Even those with the highest scores still have room for improvement. Granted, these countries have good business-enabling environments overall, but they could definitely do more to activate and accelerate the growth of high-potential female entrepreneurs.
Female start-up activity is on the rise in emerging markets
Despite being ranked as top performers and characterised by overall favourable business environments, opportunity perception is fairly low in the United States and Europe with less than a third of the female population surveyed identifying business opportunities.
In Africa, this number reaches 69 per cent. Even with challenges around access to education and capital, female start-up activity in the region is high at 86 female to every 100 male start-ups. Ghana has more female start-ups than male at a rate of 121 to 100.
The Latin American and Caribbean countries surveyed in the index also exhibit high rates, with a regional average of 84 female to every 100 male start-ups.
Asia also showed potential with more female start-ups than male start-ups in Thailand (115 to 100) and high opportunity perception for businesses by women in India.