Israel has been charged past United States of America and Switzerland become the best place in the world to be a businesswoman, according to a new report released Monday.
The Middle Eastern nation has jumped three spots this year to steal the title New Zealand after Covid-19 caused a shock in the annual Mastercard Women Entrepreneurs Women Index (MIWE).
The four pioneers were joined in the top 10 for the first time by Poland, Sweden and Spanish, which has risen rapidly this year to form a geographically varied front-run list. That great Britain, Canada and Australia round out the top 10 as high-income economies fared better for female founders under the pandemic.
Now in its fourth year, MIWE examines the work environment of 58 countries – representing nearly 80% of the world’s female workforce – to measure their success in fostering and advancing women’s entrepreneurship. Based on global data from the World Bank and the OECD, this study assesses the economy on various indicators including access to education and finance, as well as other supporting factors.
Top 10 on the way
The Israeli leader took the leading position for the first time this year thanks to a marked increase in its support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – jumping 41 places in this segment alone.
The country has set a bold ambition to double the number of women entrepreneurs in two years, launching funding and networking initiatives targeted to do so.
The US retains second place due to high female business ownership and favorable cultural perceptions. The United States ranks highest globally for female entrepreneurship separately Women’s Opportunity Index 2020/21 released last week by digital bank N26.
Switzerland advanced eight places to third overall, supported by a sharp increase in government-led support for SMEs and a significant increase in cultural perceptions of entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s 2019 leader slipped to fourth place, but still ranks high on factors such as high-visibility female leaders.
Ranking among the toughest places to be a woman entrepreneur is Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Iran, Egypt, Algeria and Bangladesh – the list is little changed from last year.
Sharp in focus
This year’s report comes against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic, experts say women who are disproportionately affected.
It has left female founders looking for new ways to work, including taking advantage of new business opportunities and realigning existing models, the report found.
More than two-fifths (42%) of female business owners are shifting to online business models under the pandemic and more than a third (37%) are developing business areas that meet new local or global needs. An additional third (34%) identified a new business opportunity because of the virus.
However, it also highlights the need to create a more inclusive environment for women entrepreneurs as the global economy tries to get back on track after the pandemic.
“The long awaited call for governments, institutions and organizations to close gender gaps has never been more urgent,” the report said.
“Now amid what has been called the worst global recession since World War II, the need to narrow these gender disparities is even more important in promoting a fair and sustainable economic recovery,” he added.
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