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Singapore a good place for women entrepreneurs

July 27th, 2017 | by Grace Chng
Singapore a good place for women entrepreneurs
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PHOTO: Pexels via Creative Commons

If you are a woman entrepreneur, Singapore is the best place to be for you to grow your business.

It has the policies, programmes and customs that best help women entrepreneurship to succeed, according to the findings of the Dell Women Entrepreneur Cities Index 2017 (WE Cities) report on cities that best encourage women entrepreneurs.

Singapore is ranked eighth out of 50 cities. The Republic is the only Asian country in the top 10 list which is led by New York. Silicon Valley is next followed by London, Boston and Stockholm.

Released last week, the report is a measure of a city’s ability to attract and support women entrepreneurs who want to grow and scale their business.

The ranking is based on five characteristics – capital, markets, talent, culture and technology. Singapore ranked seventh in terms of capital, fifth in culture and tenth in technology.

The WE Cities survey results will provide city governments a diagnostic tool to improve the landscape for women entrepreneurs, “as what is good for women is good for the economy”, said Karen Quintos, executive vice-president and chief customer officer at Dell.

Dr Rosemary Tan, founder and chief executive of biotech company Veredus Laboratories, agreed that talent as well as access to resources are key to growing a business. Veredus makes portable diagnostic tool kits for diseases like avian flu, dengue and malaria.

Recruiting people with the right set of skills is critical, she said. So is having access to resources to support company growth. In Veredus’ case, it worked with manufacturing giant STMicroelectronics to make its products.

“Understanding how to streamline manufacturing and undertaking good manufacturing practice gave us greater flexibility and cost efficiency,” she told Techgoondu.

Going forward, Singapore should work on two areas to encourage greater women entrepreneurship. Paul Henaghan, president of Dell EMC for South Asia and Korea, said efforts must be made to change “the low levels of perceived entrepreneurial skills that deter women from business ownership”.

One way this can be done is to improve networking opportunities for women business owners, said Gina Romero, who founded Singapore Connected Women, a social impact startup to connect Asian women entrepreneurs.

Women are more comfortable, for example, pitching to investors they are meeting for the first time, she noted. Hence networking and relationship building are significant to encourage more women business owners, she added.

She also believed that technology is a game changer for women. “The ability to scale businesses in the cloud, without needing to code or setting up big IT teams, makes entrepreneurship location independent. In turn, this makes entrepreneurship more attractive to women.”

The WE Cities index had its genesis from a Dell organised symposium on women entrepreneurship in 2016 chaired by Dr David Ricketts from the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard University.

The symposium’s key takeaways found that access to capital is still the foremost challenge faced by women entrepreneurs. Networks of mentors, investors and entrepreneurs are also equally important for their success.

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