At the current rate of progress, it will take 117 years to achieve gender equality in economic participation and opportunities, according to the “World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report 2015.” At EY, we are determined to do our part to accelerate women’s progress in the workplace. We’ve worked hard for many years to create effective internal and external programs focused on women’s advancement and leadership around the world—and we know there is more to do. Now, we’ve brought all our efforts together to create one unifying platform. Through our initiative Women. Fast forward, we will use our collective knowledge, experiences and convening power to push ourselves further and to do our part to accelerate global gender parity.
To accelerate growth, we’ll need to harness the potential of women entrepreneurs worldwide. EY’s programs, on both a global and regional level, empower women entrepreneurs to think bigger, gain access to capital, learn from their peers and find seasoned advisors. These connections help their companies scale, increasing employment and prosperity. The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program is an annual competition and executive leadership program that identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale—and then helps them do it. Currently in its ninth year, the North America program is open to businesses in the U.S. and Canada.
Those selected for the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program meet with entrepreneurs, investors and advisors who can help them and are coached on the five crucial actions needed to scale their companies:
- Think big and be bold
- Build a public profile
- Work on the business, rather than in it
- Establish key advisory networks
- Evaluate financing for expansion
The Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program encompasses ongoing educational programs, events, networks and media exposure—on both national and regional levels—designed to provide actionable guidance, contacts, tools and resources for leadership development and business growth. The program is evergreen. Entrepreneurs selected to participate are welcome to remain engaged in Entrepreneurial Winning Women for as long as it benefits them.
Results show that the program is spurring rapid growth. According to an independent impact assessment directed by the Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, North America program participant companies’ total 2013 revenue was 63 percent higher than their total revenues in the years before they joined the program. Individual participants average 20 percent revenue growth annually; in the second year of participation, however, their companies have been known to grow up to 50 percent. The Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program is expanding around the world, with programs launching or in development across every continent.
EY will continue to lead in accelerating the pace of change with Women. Fast forward. The world economy is driven by sustainable value and business growth, which depends upon attracting and retaining all talent. It is in the best economic interest of every organization and nation to fully use and optimize the talents of women and achieve gender parity. We wouldn’t wait 117 years to implement any other business imperative offering so much, so why are we waiting for this one? The clock is ticking!