In a country where female companies represent 22.18% of total entrepreneurship - compared to an EU average of 32% - Italians who try to pursue a career on their own suffer, compared to their European colleagues, from a greater fear of failure. To curb the growth of self-employment weighs, then, the bureaucratic factor, perceived as an obstacle of no small importance.
This is what emerges from the study promoted by the Women in Business Observatory that photographs a situation in which, if Italian entrepreneurs wishing to open a business are driven by the desire to do business (20.5%) and the possibility of being creative (21%), those of other nations are motivated, mainly, by the desire for professional autonomy (54.5% in France) and personal (work-life balance at 37.7% in the UK).
The theme of management "private life vs work" is among the most painful keys since, for 21.9% of female entrepreneurs, it is experienced as an important load of fatigue to be added to the work one. Education and cultural background, in turn, weigh on fear of failure: a perception increased by the fear of being, for 56%, crushed by bureaucracy. The factors, combined with each other, result in a "throwing in the towel" earlier than in the rest of Europe.
From the analysis carried out, "a non-positive mindset emerges among Italian entrepreneurs, as well as an evident sense of inadequacy". Although only 13.5% of female entrepreneurs indicate gender stereotypes and prejudices as an obstacle to their affirmation, a change of awareness is needed in women to have greater confidence in themselves: in 35.7% of cases they admit to being held back by the fear of failure and over 4 out of 10 women perceive that they have more difficulty growing a business than men.
In France, the same view is shared by only 18% of women; from 29.4% and 29.5% respectively from the German and the British. But the change of mentality may already be underway as 38% of female entrepreneurs tend to have a workforce composed of between 75 and 100% women, with the aim of contributing to female empowerment. This trend is present in all countries and is most evident in Germany, where personality is the main element for 82% of entrepreneurs surveyed. In Italy, in 61% of cases, character, experience in 55% and qualifications only in 27% are considered relevant. When women take on, personality relevance rises to 64%.
But, according to the survey, Italian women entrepreneurs show that they have very clear objectives: among the priorities they have the search for work-life balance (47.5%) and the expansion of their business in 44.8% of cases, compared for example to 20.1% of British women. Objectives made achievable in a particular way by technology: according to Unioncamere, 2 thousand innovative female startups were registered at the end of September 2022, with a growth of 40% compared to the last two years.
"There is a great potential of women in business and in Italy it is still partly unexpressed", comments Umberto Zola, from the Women in Business Observatory. "The data show us that we need to work on two fronts. On the one hand bureaucratic and legislative, to support female entrepreneurship with dedicated projects. On the other hand, social: there are still too many women who clash with prejudices and micro-inequalities".