Tuesday, 16 July 2019 00:35

Sydney, Melbourne rank in top 15 cities globally supporting women entrepreneurs: study

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Sydney and Melbourne rank in the top 15 cities globally in a gender-specific study conducted by Dell Technologies that looks at a city’s ability to foster the growth of women-owned businesses.

Fifty cities around the world scored on supporting women entrepreneurs in the period between 2017 to 2019, with Sydney retaining its Index ranking in 12th place and Melbourne jumping five places from 17 to 13. Both cities were the the highest ranked of cities across the Asia Pacific Japan region.

Dell's 2019 WE Cities Index serves as a diagnostic tool to advise policy-makers on how to better support women in business, and since 2017 all 50 cities improved on the majority of their indicators year-over-year, and the San Francisco Bay Area overtook the No.1 spot from New York City for its progress in awarding more women entrepreneurs with capital and mentors.

According to Dell, Sydney with 77.9% of university students being female, women entrepreneurs have a strong local pool of talent to ensure they can build a well-functioning team and grow their business.

Sydney also ranked highly in culture, with female business leaders having access to mentors and networks for advice, and policies in place to help women assume leadership positions – and, as with the 2017 results, Sydney still struggles to provide female entrepreneurs with access to capital.

In the 2019 research, Melbourne’s jump of five places showed what Dell says was “great improvement in the city’s ability to foster female entrepreneurs”.

“The Victorian capital has a strong pipeline of upcoming talent with 85.2% of university students being female, and it supports female business leaders with its government-led Women’s Leadership Programs,” the company noted.

Angela Fox, senior vice-president and general manager ANZ, Dell Technologies, says: "Every day I meet inspiring women in Australia and New Zealand, so it is heartening to see Sydney and Melbourne rank in the top 15 cities globally in our WECities Index report.

“At Dell Technologies we know the diversity and inclusion of women in senior positions and areas of innovation has proven to have a positive effect on not just business performance but other areas of our community. I am passionate about encouraging and empowering women, and I look to support Australia and New Zealand as we continue to build an ecosystem which supports our women to be who they want to be."

"When we invest in women, we invest in the future; communities prosper, economies thrive and the next generation leads with purpose,” said Karen Quintos, EVP and chief customer officer at Dell Technologies. “By arming city leaders and policymakers with actionable, data-driven research on the landscape for women entrepreneurs, we can collectively accelerate the success of women-owned businesses by removing financial, cultural and political barriers."

Amit Midha, president of Asia Pacific & Japan, Global Digital Cities at Dell Technologies, said: “When more women work, economies grow. Technology is helping to drive this progress as a gender-neutral enabler, and helps create a level playing field.

“Whilst all cities in the Index have improved, the crucial factor is the consistency of this improvement across the different factors that impact women entrepreneurs’ success. The WE Cities Index helps Dell Technologies get closer to our customers and understand the landscape in each city so we are better able to help women entrepreneurs scale their businesses.”

Dell says all 50 cities made progress since 2017, however some cities made “bigger strides than others and the race to the top inevitably left some cities behind”.

Dell’s highlights of the study include:

  • The San Francisco Bay Area out ranked New York for the No. 1 spot this year, largely in part because the Bay Area is one of the best places for women to gain access to capital. It also moved from 6th place to 2nd place in Culture, illustrating that the number of role models and public dialogue around eliminating the ‘bro culture’ is making an impact.
  • Out of a total of 100 possible points, the No. 1 ranked San Francisco Bay Area scored only 63.7. That’s evidence that there is still much work to do to level the field for women – and validates the need for this kind of research and outreach to policymakers to move the needle for female founders.
  • Lack of funding, high-cost of living, low representation of women in leadership roles, and the lack of government led policies that support women entrepreneurs were among the barriers, globally.
  • Thirty out of 50 cities improved on more than half of their indicators, with Latin America and Europe seeing the highest percentage of their cities move up.
  • The most-improved cities represent nearly every region, which indicates how broad-based the improvements have been around the world.
  • Mexico City had the greatest improvement ranking No. 45 in 2017, moving up to No. 29 this year. In particular, the city increased women in education, at top business schools and in its legislature, and also increased corporate vendor procurement programs and access to capital for women entrepreneurs via crowdfunding campaigns.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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