Young women are leading the way in entrepreneurship over their male counterparts, according to a report released Monday by Girls With Impact, a nonprofit educational and leadership program for girls and young women based in Greenwich, Conn.
The report found that, although women make up only 22 percent of those participating in college venture competitions, 51 percent of the college teams that ranked first, second or third in the competitions were created by young women and 32 percent had a woman CEO.

Universities across the country sponsor venture competitions in which teams organize as a business and present a business plan for an innovative company. The report is based on six years of data involving 1,454 participants in venture competitions from UCLA, Rice University and the University of Connecticut.

In order to encourage girls and young women to pursue business careers, the report, sponsored by Ernst & Young (EY), recommends corporations invest in STEEM, not just STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics education) training for young women. The extra E stands for entrepreneurship, which will help ensure the development of leaders, who can be successful in the future workforce.

These corporation-sponsored programs should reach down to Gen Z, those born during the 2000s, to ensure a pipeline of entrepreneurial girls, the report said.

Educators and parents can promote entrepreneurship among girls by turning after-school hours into practical hands-on learning experiences, EY said. Colleges need to track the participation of women in venture competitions and encourage participation among students,

“This is another nail in the business gender coffin,” David Noble, professor and director of the Werth Institute for Innovation Consortium at the University of Connecticut, said in a statement. “Companies that fail to turn to the next generation will miss out—pure and simple.”

“Employers today are looking for innovative ideas and diversity is one of the things that brings out those ides,” George Brooks, head of people advisory services for EY, said during a webinar on the report.

Jennifer Openshaw, chair of Girls With Impact, noted, “We suggest giving girls and young women exposure to business, show them the pathway and give them role models to follow.”

It is not too early for corporations and educators to approach girls in Gen Z, Brooks said. “The most dynamic training sessions we have [at EY] are ones attended by Gen Z girls.”

Source: Financial Advisor