Hong Kong’s start-up-friendly environment is inspiring many women to set up their own business in the city – and those who do can find practical support and advice from Female Entrepreneurs Worldwide (FEW). Set up last year by local entrepreneurs Anna Wong and Ines Gafsi, the social enterprise recently hosted its first major event, Female Entrepreneurs Day.
It's the age of Beyoncé, "leaning in", and Hillary Clinton, with gender equality and female empowerment now a mainstream if not "cool" subject. But business remains a heavily male-dominated field, and Hong Kong is no exception. It was big news last year when – for the first time ever – women made up more than 10 percent of the board members of the leading companies listed in the Hang Sang Index.
FEW plans to expand exchanges and cross-border activities with its sister organisations in the United States, Europe and on the Chinese mainland, as well as host the first Female Entrepreneur’s Day globally later this year. Ms Wong discusses some of the support services offered by FEW.
FEW aims to establish a mentorship programme this year to connect Hong Kong-based entrepreneurs with more experienced businesswomen so they can learn from past success stories, expand their professional networks, gain more confidence and break through the glass ceiling at work, it said.
According to a recent global survey by French bank BNP Paribas, 45 per cent of entrepreneurs in Hong Kong are women, a percentage that is higher than everywhere else in the world except India (49 per cent). The report, however, concluded that many "women still often lack the confidence to start a business. They need to believe in themselves more."