Posts Tagged ‘women’

Aussie Women in the Global Arena – Our New Report (Part Three)

June 26, 2015

Here concludes the trilogy of findings from our latest Women in Global Business report. There are two sets of findings I want to highlight.

China’s rise: The international markets most frequently identified by the Australian businesswomen we surveyed as the 713px-Flag-map_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svgmost important market were China (34%), the USA (23%), and the UK (7%). China was more frequently cited as most important (36%) for the more experienced organisations (those operating internationally for over five years). China has jumped considerably since our first survey (from 18% to 34%). This year we also asked about the most important region and Asia was ranked #1 by just over half (52%) the women.

For more on China, see p.32 of the report.

The challenges of global expansion: Australia’s businesswomen have confronted, and overcome, a number of hurdles in their internationalisation efforts. Among the most substantial barriers we identify are: the high $A, difficulty locating a suitable distributor, red tape issues in establishing foreign operations, a lack of resources to cover the investment timeframe (especially relative to the costs), and a lack of alternative sources of capital.

cover shot 2015 WIGB reportWomen running their own international organisations consistently rated these impediments as higher than the senior female employees (the exception was on the currency risk front). This is symptomatic of the large differences in access to resources, networks and information for these two groups of women.

This second annual survey allows us to track the progression of a subsample of the women from the first survey. Almost two thirds (63%) of the women who had indicated an intention to expand the number of countries in which their business operated had achieved this goal in 2014.

Doing business abroad has not got easier however. As these women expand their businesses into new locations, they continue to encounter issues that hinder growth. On almost all of the 31 issues we track across the survey, the respondents report the barrier to be causing more or similar hindrance to 12 months earlier. The only two to drop noticeably are cultural differences and the perceived risks of losing money selling products or services abroad.

The barrier that has most consistently increased is lack of alternative sources of capital. In this second annual survey we specifically investigate financing challenges which emerged from the inaugural survey as particularly salient for Australian businesswomen in the international arena. We find that most internationalised women‐owned organisations rely primarily on personal savings and reinvested profits to fund expansion. Only 21% of the owner-operators had attempted to borrow to fund internationalisation, and of these attempts, only 27% were successful. Only 10% of respondents regarded ease of accessing finance as easy or very easy, while 55% rated it difficult or very difficult.

Almost two fifths (39%) of the internationally engaged owner-operators felt that gender made a difference to their access to finance. This number was considerably higher (52%) for female owner-operators who were yet to internationalise. This does point to an often underplayed constraint to ongoing international expansion of women-owned Australian organisations.

Our report identifies a number of opportunities to nurture and assist Australia’s businesswomen in their international efforts. We offer promising evidence of the positive impact of mentoring in reducing barriers and building confidence, and a clear appetite for greater access to mentors. Programs such as WIGB are ideal mechanisms for increased sharing of information, contacts and lessons from successful counterparts, the building of skills and capacity, networking, and as a forum for offering specifically targeted policies and interventions.

To read more, see the report.


Aussie Women in the Global Arena – Our New Report (Part Two)

June 25, 2015

As I mentioned yesterday, our latest Women in Global Business Report has hit the streets. It’s chock full of findings about the progress and experiences of Aussie businesswomen in the international arena, and they ongoing hurdles they face.

cover shot 2015 WIGB reportWhile my earlier post focused on female Aussie entrepreneurs, the report also offers insights into the experiences of Australian women playing major roles as senior employees with strategic responsibilities in international businesses.

Just over a quarter of these respondents are members of the C-suite within their organisation. These women are younger (only 18% were 50+), and even more highly educated (90% hold a bachelor degree or higher) than the owner‐operators.

Their organisations tend to be much larger – 43% have 500+ employees – and are older and more experienced overseas.

We contend that some of these women may become the next generation of Australian international entrepreneurs, as they are currently building the sets of requisite skills for such transitions. Their rise within organisations also reflects the welcome growing presence of senior women in corporate Australia.

Read more here.

Tomorrow, I profile the rise of China, and also the hurdles Aussie businesswomen still face when internationalising.

Aussie Women in the Global Arena – Our New Report

June 24, 2015

Our second report for Women in Global Business is out and about. It results from a survey of 400+ Australian businesswomen, many of whom run their own internationally-engaged business.

The report can be downloaded here, or over here.

In summary, we found that there is a large, active group of women-owned businesses operating across varied foreign markets. These are typically young, small-medium-sized enterprises, founded within the past 4-8 years. They have been very quick to embrace global opportunities.

Over two-fifths (42%) internationalised within 12 months of start-up, and 81% within the cover shot 2015 WIGB reportfirst 5 years. A third of these organisations (33%) earn more than 50% of their sales revenue internationally. Expanding overseas has been a key success driver for these women-owned businesses. Almost two thirds (62%) report sales growth of more than 10% over the past year. Over a third (35%) report sales growth of more than 40%. These numbers are even higher for organisations that have internationalised in the past five years, with 52% reporting sales growth of more than 40% in the past year. Foreign sales growth of more than 100% was reported by 16% of the women-owned businesses.

Almost a fifth (19%) of the women-owned businesses also reported growth in employment numbers of 10% or more over the past 12 months, with 4% more than doubling their headcount. Again, employment growth was even higher for firms in early stages of internationalisation. Of those who have internationalised within the past 5 years, 31% reported growth in employment numbers of 10% or more over the past 12 months, with 9% more than doubling their headcount.

Australia’s female international owner-operators do not fit the stereotype of young, brash entrepreneurs. Rather, these female success stories are overwhelmingly baby-boomers (62% are 50+ years of age). They are very well-educated (78% hold a bachelor degree or higher). They bring a wealth of life and business experience to their start‐ups. Half (50%) have worked overseas in previous organisations, typically for five or more years, often in the USA, UK, China or Singapore.

Australia’s women-owned businesses have already achieved significant success overseas, with the majority (51%) operating in five or more foreign markets, and a quarter in ten or more. There is a strong appetite for further expansion with 74% indicating they are seeking to expand into new markets, and none intending to scale back their global reach.

The most common first locations for expansion by women-owned organisations were the USA (14%), NZ (12%), UK (9%) and Japan (8%). China has been on the rise in recent years, accounting for 13% of first entries in the past five years. Asia is by far the most common region for first expansion, up from 40% of firms who first went international 5 or more years ago to 47% of firms who internationalised within the past 5 years. The big drops have been in Europe (down from 20% to 11%) and Oceania (20% to 13%).

Later this week I’ll summarise our findings on the Aussie international businesswomen employed in senior strategic roles.

Calling all Aussie international businesswomen

July 27, 2012

I’m currently involved in a really promising Honours research project here at the University of Melbourne, and I’d love to get you involved.

Sarah Gundlach and I are surveying Aussie businesswomen on behalf of a multi-government network called Women in Global Business (they’ve grown in just over a year to more than 1000 members).

We are exploring what motivates these women to engage in international business. We ask about where they are targeting and why. We ask them to identify any barriers they have encountered to expansion and the networks they have used. We also explore aspects of the entrepreneurial mindset.  It’s the first study of this scale in Australia (and one of the first in the world).

It will not only give us a sense of what Aussie businesswomen are up to, but also what could drive more international adventurousness, and how organisations like WIGB can help (via lobbying, networking, info sharing etc).

So, this is a call to any women who would like to share their views with us. Click on image below (or here) to tell us about your experience engaging in business across borders.

Please pass it on to any eligible businesswomen you know.

And there’s a chance to win a funky laptop bag for one lucky survey participant.

I’ll be reporting back on our findings towards the end of the year too.

Finally, WIGB are currently doing a roadshow of events with great speakers.  Click on this pic below to see where and when (and if you’re at the Melbourne event look out for me!).