Tackling Business Obstacles: Insights From Female Entrepreneurs

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, you know the road to success is often paved with a ton of business obstacles. But what if those obstacles were amplified by your gender?


There is no denying that female entrepreneurs face unique challenges in the business world. From biased investors to a lack of representation in leadership positions, you name it.   However, these challenges have not stopped countless women from starting and thriving in their businesses.


In this article, we’ll delve into the insights and experiences of successful female entrepreneurs who have overcome these obstacles successfully. Whether you’re a woman looking to start a business or an ally interested in supporting female entrepreneurship, this article is for you.


So, let’s dive in and learn from the trailblazing women breaking barriers and making a difference in the business world.

Business Obstacles Faced By Female Entrepreneurs

First, let’s take a look at the common obstacles women face that can hinder their success in starting and growing their businesses. Here are some of the most common business challenges faced by women.


1. Gender Bias And Stereotypes

For starters, female entrepreneurs often face gender-based biases and stereotypes, such as the assumption that women are less capable or less committed to their businesses than men.


These biases can affect the way they are perceived by potential investors, customers, and partners.

2. Access To Funding And Resources

Apart from that, they may find it more difficult to secure funding and resources for their businesses than their male counterparts. This may be due to unconscious bias on the part of investors, a lack of networks and connections. Or simply, because of a lack of resources and access to capital.

3. Work-life Balance Challenges

Balancing the demands of running a business with the responsibilities of family and personal life can be challenging for females. They often face additional pressures to meet societal expectations around caregiving and household management.


Offering flexible work arrangements and family-friendly policies can help women entrepreneurs manage their personal and professional lives more effectively.

4. Lack Of Mentorship And Networking Opportunities

Next, female entrepreneurs may have fewer opportunities to network with other entrepreneurs and find mentors to help them navigate the business obstacles. Thus, it can make it more difficult for them to access the resources, advice, and support they need to succeed.

5. Discrimination And Harassment

Lastly, women may face discrimination and harassment in the workplace, which can affect their ability to thrive in their businesses. Not to mention, this can affect their mental health and well-being, making it difficult for them to feel confident.


To fix this, organizations can develop clear policies that outline how discrimination and harassment will be handled, including the steps that will be taken if someone makes a complaint.


Overall, these business obstacles can create significant challenges for female entrepreneurs, making it more difficult for them to start and grow successful businesses.

Success Stories of Female Entrepreneurs

Despite their difficulties, many women entrepreneurs have defied the odds and proven their competence in the business world. Here are a few success stories of some resilient women entrepreneurs:

#1 Rosalind Brewer – The Only Black Woman Currently Leading A Fortune 500 Company



Brewer was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, in a working-class family. She was the youngest of five children and grew up in a community that was predominantly African-American. Despite facing challenges because of her race and gender in her early life, Brewer worked hard to achieve her goals.


After graduating from high school, Brewer attended Spelman College, a historically black women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned a chemistry degree and earned an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.


Brewer began her career at Kimberly-Clark, a global consumer goods company, where she worked for over 20 years. She started as a scientist and eventually worked her way up to become the company’s first African-American and first female executive vice president. During her time at Kimberly-Clark, Brewer led several successful initiatives, including the launch of the company’s first-ever global brand, Huggies.


Throughout her career, she has been recognized for her achievements and leadership. In 2020, she was named to Fortune’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. Currently, she is the CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.


Needless to say, Brewer’s story is an inspiring one, and it shows that with hard work, determination, and a commitment to excellence, anyone can achieve their dreams. She has broken barriers and shattered glass ceilings, and her success serves as an inspiration to women and people of color everywhere.

#2 Reshma Saujani – Founder Of Girls Who Code



Another inspiring story that’s worth noting is that of Reshma Saujani. Born in 1975 in Illinois to Indian parents, she was encouraged to excel academically from a young age.


She went on to attend the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she studied political science, and later received her law degree from Yale Law School.


After law school, Saujani worked as a lawyer for a few years, but she found that she wasn’t satisfied with her career. She realized that she was more interested in politics and decided to run for public office in New York City in 2010. Her campaign was unsuccessful, but it sparked a passion in her for encouraging more women to run for office.


In 2012, Saujani founded a non-profit organization called Girls Who Code, which aims to close the gender gap in technology by teaching girls to code. The organization provides free coding classes to girls in underserved communities across the United States. Since its founding, Girls Who Code has taught over 450,000 girls to code and has expanded to dozens of countries worldwide.


Reshma Saujani’s story is a reminder that it’s never too late to pursue your passions and make a difference in the world. She has shown that with hard work, dedication, and a willingness to take risks, you can accomplish great things and inspire others to do the same.

#3 Kirsten Green – Founder of Forerunner Ventures



As for Kirsten Green, she is the founder of Forerunner Ventures.


In 1999, Green moved to San Francisco and began working for an internet consulting firm. She quickly became fascinated by the startup scene in Silicon Valley and decided to start her own company, which she called “Forerunner Ventures.”


At first, Forerunner Ventures was a consulting firm that helped startups with strategy and marketing. But over time, Green realized that she had a knack for identifying promising companies and helping them grow. She began investing in some of these companies herself, and in 2010, she officially founded Forerunner Ventures as a venture capital firm.


Since then, Forerunner Ventures has become one of the industry’s most successful venture capital firms, with a portfolio of companies worth billions of dollars. Green’s success has earned her numerous accolades, including recognition as one of Fortune’s “40 Under 40” and Forbes’ “Midas List” of top venture capitalists.


But perhaps even more impressive than her success as a venture capitalist is Green’s commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion in the tech industry. She has been a vocal advocate for increasing the number of women and people of color in leadership positions in tech companies. She has used her platform to support and invest in companies prioritizing diversity and inclusion.


Green’s story is a testament to the power of following your passions, taking risks, and tackling business obstacles. She had no prior experience in venture capital or entrepreneurship when she started Forerunner Ventures, but she was willing to take a chance on herself and her vision. And her success shows that with hard work, determination, and a willingness to think outside the box, anything is possible.

Final Thoughts

There is no denying female entrepreneurs face numerous challenges that can hinder their success in starting and growing their businesses. These business obstacles range from gender bias and stereotypes to a lack of mentorship and networking opportunities, work-life balance challenges, access to funding and resources, and discrimination and harassment.


However, successful female entrepreneurs like Rosalind Brewer, Reshma Saujani, and Kirsten Green have proven that anyone can achieve their dreams with hard work, determination, and a commitment to excellence. By breaking barriers and overcoming business obstacles, these trailblazing women are inspiring other women and people of color to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

Written by Zaina Meher Kadiri for Gray Line Media
(March, 2023)