Fear of failure is a top concern for all entrepreneurs, but new research has found that it is more of a fear for female entrepreneurs than their male counterparts.
Not only were female entrepreneurs more likely to have a fear of failing, they were also more likely to have lower perceptions of their entrepreneurial abilities than male business owners.
Those findings, which were a part of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2012 Women's Report conducted by Babson College, the Universidad Del Desarrollo and the University Tun Abdul Razak, also found that entrepreneurship is becoming a top career choice for a growing number of women.
Despite hesitation about failure, the researchers found there were 126 million active female entrepreneurs operating businesses in 67 economies around the globe.
Those companies are responsible for a significant number of jobs, the researchers say. It is estimated that 112 million female business owners and entrepreneurs employ at least one person in their business. An additional 12 million female entrepreneurs and business owners expect to grow their businesses by at least six employees in the next five years.
"Even though women may have more years of education, it may not relate to self-perceived confidence in their entrepreneurial capabilities," said Candida Brush, a professor of entrepreneurship at Babson College and author of the report. "In developed economies, entrepreneurship is opportunity-driven and women, who are well-schooled in other disciplines than entrepreneurship, may question their ability to identify, assess and act on an opportunity."
Overall, women were most likely to start a business out of opportunity and not as a necessity in all regions of the world. However, in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, women were more likely to start their business out of necessity. Despite seeing an opportunity in starting their own business, women as a whole are still less likely than men to want to start their own business.
"In most economies around the world, there are fewer women than men starting and running new businesses, but there are even fewer running mature ones," said Donna Kelley, a professor at Babson College and the report’s lead author. "This raises a red flag about the ability of women to easily transition from starting to sustaining their businesses."
To help even out the entrepreneurial ambitions of both men and women, the report calls for resources for female entrepreneurs, including "building new collaborations and leverage business ideas, developing entrepreneurial abilities and attitudes and accessing the means necessary to expand their businesses and generate jobs."