Martin Murray finds positive links between female leadership and better responses to Covid-19 based on leadership qualities that are often mirrored in the world of business.
From Finland to New Zealand and from Germany to Taiwan, countries with a female-led government have performed best in their response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Some male-led countries have performed well too. But virtually no female-led countries have performed poorly. Explanations for this phenomenon touch on leadership qualities of empathy, clarity of communications and, critically, decisiveness.
How does this relate to matters of female leadership in business and specifically to female entrepreneurship? At Dublin BIC we have had the opportunity to work with many female entrepreneurs over the last 30 years, including with participants on Enterprise Ireland’s Innovate accelerator program, dedicated to female entrepreneurs and delivered by Dublin BIC.
From our experience in Dublin BIC, two characteristics stand out in relation to female entrepreneurs. The first is a super-positive disposition toward practical collaboration. Female entrepreneurs share information, share leads, share contacts and support one another to find customers, suppliers, distributors, recruits and investors.
The second characteristic is certainly not universal, but it is common. That is, it is not unusual to find female entrepreneurs whose ability and potential far exceeds their own confidence in their ability and potential. The potential is unlocked once the confidence is achieved.
In 2011, 7% of High Potential Start-Up companies supported by Enterprise Ireland had a female founder. In 2019, as a result of very targeted interventions, this figure increased to 21%. That’s a significant achievement.
More needs to be done to ensure that women are founders of highly innovative companies and that these companies receive investment and scale internationally. Otherwise, Ireland Inc is missing out on a vast reservoir of entrepreneurial leadership.