Women and Innovation—at Smith and Beyond

A major new study shows an increase in women’s entrepreneurial activity worldwide—and for the first time Smith is helping to sponsor the research.

Smith has joined Babson College and other sponsoring organizations from Korea, Mexico, Chile and Malaysia in gathering, analyzing and presenting data for the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 2016-17 Women’s Report—the world’s foremost effort to measure women’s entrepreneurship.

Monica Dean—who led Smith’s participation in the study—says the effort is a natural complement to the college’s leadership around women and entrepreneurship.

“Our participation reinforces the activities and priorities at the new Jill Ker Conway Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center,” she says, “and reflects the importance of research that showcases the contributions women make globally to entrepreneurial activity.” Dean is administrative director of the Conway CIEC.

Smith faculty members Benjamin Baumer and Mahnaz Mahdavi, and Conway Center program director René Heavlow also participated in writing and analysis for the report.

Among the report’s other major findings:

  • Women are innovating more. Total Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) among women increased 10 percent in the 63 economies surveyed both this year and last.
  • The gender gap among innovators is shrinking. The ratio of women to men participating in entrepreneurship narrowed by 5 percent in those same economies.
  • Women are eager to innovate. Entrepreneurial intentions among women increased by 16 percent from 2014 to 2016 among all economies participating in the two most recent reports.

More information—and a link to the full report—is available at the GEM Consortium Website.