Start-up platforms for women: Unleashing "She" power
CGTN's New Money
In a street rebuilt in the ancient style in China's eastern city of Hangzhou, tourists and locals can experience what the city looked like seven centuries ago. Among the many shops lining the street is a crafts store known for its traditional fabric printing.
Apart from doing business, the store has gained a second and more important purpose as it has joined a local program called Yichuanghui that supports female entrepreneurship.
Established by the Hangzhou Women's Federation in 2015, Yichuanghui now has 11 branches in the city under its Yi Alliance umbrella. Yichuanghui also invites other complementary incubators to join their program under a franchising program, allowing branches to experiment freely and share their resources.
As Yichuanghui becomes a typical example of the government-led effort to boost female entrepreneurship, market players are also launching their own versions. GirlUp is a Beijing-based accelerator that also caters to the needs of female entrepreneurs. The four-year-old company has completed four rounds of investment and invested in or helped secure investment for more than 70 projects.
The company has built its network of local partners in major Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Chengdu, Shenzhen and Wuhan. It has established presence overseas, with a footprint in Seattle and Los Angeles.
Female entrepreneurs in China are getting younger. According to a report issued by GirlUp and 36 Kr on female entrepreneurship in China, nearly two-thirds of the country' start-up businesswomen were between 18 and 29 years old.
Experts believe that, although female characteristics provide women entrepreneurs a major advantage over their male counterparts, they also face some gender-induced barriers. And, as some experts point out, the high concentration low-tech industries make female-led businesses less likely to attract private investments or secure government subsidies.