“One of the most important things someone could get out of an executive course is confidence – because women can sometimes hold themselves back,” says Linda Rottenberg, co-founder and chief executive of Endeavor. “Confidence building translates into people thinking bigger about their business.”
Nicole Stubbs, chief executive of First Access, which creates risk scores for microfinance clients in emerging economies, agrees. “It’s about confidence and finding best practices for framing what you’re doing, so family members and others can understand.”
But for borrowers in low-income communities, even local courses may be out of reach. This can hinder economic development, as female entrepreneurs make important contributions to these economies – and women tend to invest returns in the education and healthcare of their children.
Often women are “necessity entrepreneurs” – their decision driven by circumstances – rather than “opportunity entrepreneurs”, says Elaine Eisenman, dean of executive education at Babson College. “They are the sole support for their family and don’t set out to become entrepreneurs.”