Shikha Bhatnagar

Global Social Impact Consultant

Over seventeen years of programming, policy analysis, advocacy, and business development experience across sectors with stakeholders on critical global issues such as economic & political development, education, health, security, diversity & inclusion, and civil society (including women's rights). 

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Resources for the SWE (Single Woman Entrepreneur)

Cross-posted from LinkedIn

It is now a well-established fact that women have a much more difficult time accessing financing for new ventures than men. (Even Shark Tank is guilty of this: http://mashable.com/2016/01/15/shark-tank-women-entrepreneurs/#AfnMVztxCkqK.) If women in general are facing barriers, how much harder is it for single women who may not have the same day to day financial and emotional support as their married, dual-income household counterparts? This isn't meant to be an "us" (single) vs. "them" (married) discussion - it just seems that the overwhelming majority of the successful female entrepreneurs I have met or read about are married and I suspect that there is probably a reason behind this. 

Where are the stories about single women who have created successful ventures? How do their entrepreneurial journeys differ from those of married women?  What resources did they utilize to achieve their goals? Does an unmarried woman have to be independently wealthy or come out of the financial and legal sectors to have built enough of a nest egg to mitigate risk? Are there books, organizations, mentorship programs out there to support single women entrepreneurs? 

I'm asking for my own curiosity, but more importantly, to share with others and bring this conversation out into the open, especially as an increasingly greater number of women start their own businesses. The startup ecosystem already penalizes aspiring entrepreneurs simply because they're women, plus single people in general are penalized by our government, society, and employers for not conforming, voluntarily or not, to the institution of marriage, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention the additional barriers that women of color face. Is this double or potentially triple burden creating a prohibitive environment for unmarried women to achieve their aspirations of starting their own businesses? If so, what needs to change in order to level this grossly uneven playing field? 

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