As part of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Stéphanie Thomson described the short history of the Time’s Up movement. Leading actresses spoke out about sexual harassment endured on their path to fame. The movement spread like wildfire and those Hollywood women established Time’s Up. It is the biggest action-oriented response to the stream of sexual harassment allegations.

The movement has been described as revolutionary because of the people those actions will help. As Thomson says, while the #MeToo movement gave some victims a voice, many women who have experienced sexual harassment, assault, or abuse in the workplace, were still struggling to be heard, especially poorer women, women of color, and those working in less glamorous industries. Time’s Up is attempting to reach those people.

Has the Time’s Up movement done anything for the female entrepreneur or can it do something for us businesswomen? After all, being an entrepreneur means being the boss but does that protect us from sexual assault in the workplace? Alternatively, do past experiences hold us back from fully giving our all? In this blog, I want to do some research on this topic to see if the Time’s Up movement can do anything for us businesswomen to help female entrepreneurship move forward.

‘What Can the Time’s Up Movement do For the Female Entrepreneur?’ Has the Time’s Up movement done anything for the female entrepreneur or can it do something for us business women? After all, being an entrepreneur means being the boss but does that protect us from sexual assault in the workplace? Alternatively, do past experiences hold us back from fully giving our all? In this blog, I examine if the Time’s Up movement can do anything for us business women to help female entrepreneurship move forward:

Women’s March

Earlier this year, in the wake of the ongoing sexual harassment scandals in Hollywood and beyond, people all over the world took to the streets to send the message that ‘Time’s Up’. This came exactly a year after the global women’s marches to defend women’s rights. Izzy Lyons listed ten reasons that the last few months of 2018 have given every person reason to march but I want to mention two (focusing on the UK specifically):

  • Sexism against female entrepreneurs

In 2016, just nine percent of all startup funding went to female founders, according to data from Barclays and the Entrepreneurs Network. In the UK, male entrepreneurs are 86 percent more likely than their female counterparts to raise venture capital funding. It is safe to say there is an issue.

Such a climate even led two female entrepreneurs to invent a fake male co-founder to correspond with potential investors. Penelope Gazin and Kate Dwyer created an imaginary third co-founder to help get their business off the ground.

  • There are only 6 female bosses of FTSE 100 companies

At the very top big business, women are barely present. With only six women at the helm of FTSE 100 companies in the UK, there is a long way to go before greater representation is achieved. However, progress is being made. From 2011-2017, the number of board positions at FTSE 100 companies occupied by women jumped from 12.5 to 28 percent. By 2022, a target of 33 percent has been put in place. Still only a third, though.


Keri Gohman states that the economic impact of women-owned businesses is profound. There is an estimated 11.6 million of them in the US alone, generating a collective $1.7 trillion in revenue. Over the past 20 years, the number of women-owned businesses has grown at more than 2.5 times the US national average. Unfortunately, the challenges female entrepreneurs face are unique and in some cases, more challenging than those of their male peers. Gohman asks herself in what areas we can ensure women have the support they need in order to start and grow their businesses. She mentions three:

1. Get the right advice

The reality of being a small business owner is tough today. Not many survive the first five years. Many blame financial issues like cash flow visibility and access to capital. With access to the right technology and advisors, business owners can have the insights and timely support they need to move forward with confidence. Advisors are a key ingredient when it comes to any small business’ success and starting a relationship early with an accountant is crucial.

2. Embrace the latest tech

Cloud technology has removed the barriers to entry for would-be entrepreneurs everywhere. This is especially true for women, who are often expected to step into traditional gender roles and can face greater demands at home in addition to the stress of work. With a plethora of business management apps now available to help give business owners the flexibility to run a business on the go, technology can change the game and enable female entrepreneurs to write their own rules.

3. Successfully acquire capital

Access to capital at the right time is critical for a business owner to keep their doors open. Unfortunately, women are still awarded finance and venture capital (VC) funding at a lower rate than men. Both men and women-owned firms apply for business loans at a similar rate, but less than half of women are approved, versus the 61-percent approval rate for men. When it comes to VC funding, female CEOs only get 2.7% of VC funds.

The 2017 Crunchbase Women in Venture report concluded that “venture firms with female founders and/or an unusually high percentage of female partners invest at elevated levels in female entrepreneurs”. VC firms should seek to actively address gender diversity both at the partner level internally and in their portfolios to make sure their businesses are reflective of our society as a whole.

Work the system

Female entrepreneurs need to be ready to work the system, Gohman feels. A high degree of preparation is key when entrepreneurs are entering those all-important investor meetings. For a startup, one of the most important parts of being investor ready is having its finances in order and up-to-date books. And given the tough odds for women in getting financing today, it is crucial that they do everything they can to show up strong, showcasing command of finances and having the right support team in place.

To increase the odds of success, Gohman says, women should seek venture firms and banks that have strong female representation and understand their industry. In addition, when seeking financing, women should shamelessly leverage their network, looking for opportunities for introductions and recommendations that also add credibility before they walk in the room.

How to obtain financing?

Clara Young, OECD Observer, noticed that the Aboriginal Women’s Business Entrepreneurship Network website advises women to use their own personal savings to start their businesses as well as to borrow from friends and family. Bank loans, overdrafts and credit lines are, not surprisingly, a distant third option, sometimes because women lack credit histories or are discriminated against in their credit scoring. In OECD countries, only 26% of women believe they would gain access to the necessary finance to start or grow a business, against 34% of men.

Young stresses that governments can help women here. The French Fonds de garantie à l’initiative des femmes (FGIF), for instance, guarantees loans of up to €45,000 for women entrepreneurs. Microfinance loans of, typically, under €25,000 are another way to get small start-up loans to women business owners.

I have not noticed any direct links between Time’s Up and female entrepreneurship, so that would be an interesting topic of research. Not much information is currently available. I have noticed an indirect link though. The Time’s Up movement has given people (not just women) the incentive to go out on the streets and demand progress. This has given rise to more attention to the (financial) situation of female entrepreneurs. Let’s use this momentum as a starting point!

Resources: six books focusing on female entrepreneurship

The traditional business book does not focus on the unique world experienced by women in business (bias, discrimination, lack of funding, and balancing home and professional life). Charles Franklin has compiled a list of six books that focus on female entrepreneurship though. I have mentioned this list in blogs before. However, I feel it is important that every woman has access to info about female entrepreneurship.

1. Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold

Dr. Patti Fletcher shares stories of women who shifted careers to follow their entrepreneurial passion. They created their own network of supporters and funders to grow their business. As a result, they developed million-dollar businesses without sacrificing their family and business goals.

The key message Dr. Fletcher wants to give to aspiring businesswomen is that you can succeed on your own terms. You do not need to run a business “like a man” in order to be a success. You can and should be yourself.

2. Girl Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Success, Sanity, and Happiness for the Female Entrepreneur

Girl Code is a book that challenges the stereotypes of women succeeding in business. Cara Alwill Leyba shares a new “code” for women doing business that builds confidence and connection. She confronts the belief that women have to succeed alone and act a certain way to be a success. She also reminds aspiring female entrepreneurs that they do not need to fit a certain mold to succeed in business. Businesses women do not need to hold up a facade of perfection in order to succeed. Being OK with yourself is the “code.”


#GirlBoss is the story about a woman should not be where she is. Author Sophie Amoruso went from a dropout to the founder of a fashion empire. The book focuses on the lessons that Amoruso learned while building her empire. She shares her failures and her lessons learned. Her point is that no matter where you come from, there is always a place for you at the table of success. You simply have to make the choice and put in the work.

4. My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive

An illegal immigrant from Mexico, Julissa Arce was an intelligent student. Still, she always had one eye over her shoulder for deportation officials. Luckily, when she prepared for college, legislation passed that allowed her to attend college. With that opportunity, Arce found her calling in Wall Street and excelled.

My Underground American Dream is a behind-the-scenes look at how Julissa Arce managed to accomplish everything she did. It is a tale about finding dreams and turning into opportunities for yourself and the world around you.

5. How Exceptional Black Women Lead: Unlocking the Secrets to Creating Phenomenal Success in Career and in Life

This book is written for women of color who need guidance and inspiration for life as a business leader. Avis Jones-DeWeever shares insights and advice from seventy black businesswomen in various fields. She provides a look at the current situation of black women in the world of business. Additionally, she offers guidance on how readers can navigate obstacles, create their own path, and build their own support networks.

6. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business

Shark Tales chronicles the unusual business journey of Barbara Corcoran. She is now a million-dollar real estate mogul and business investor/entrepreneurial mentor on Shark Tank.

Barbara Corcoran’s unconventional background and history helped her achieve better than anyone could have expected. She did not need to follow the path of every other business person to achieve what she wanted. Everything she needed was already there.