November 19th is National Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and we are celebrating the girls today who are making great strides towards becoming the go-getters of tomorrow! While research shows that girls are actively interested in becoming entrepreneurs, developing financially stable futures, and using their skills to make an impact on the world, many feel they lack the financial confidence and knowledge they need to succeed.
The new generation of girls feels gender is no barrier to what they can accomplish. While becoming an entrepreneur might not be the ideal career path for every girl, there are countless benefits that come with learning to think like one! Qualities such as curiosity, confidence, and innovation go hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship and are crucial for all types of academic and career success. Building these skills early on prepares girls for workforce readiness no matter what kind of career path they decide to embark on.
Entrepreneurship is much more than start-ups and capital ventures; this approach to innovation can be used to solve social problems and make the world a better place. When girls’ and women’s ideas for how to change the world are put into action, our economy and society benefits. The ability to take an idea, run with it, and turn it into action isn’t only an important business skill, but a life skill!
With Girl Scouts, girls learn to think like entrepreneurs as they participate in activities that spark curiosity, confidence, and innovation. In a new study by the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), 1,506 girls ages 8 – 17 were surveyed all across the country to better understand their perceptions and goals of entrepreneurial pursuits. Girl Scouts were found twice as likely to do entrepreneurial activities compared to non-Girl Scouts and held an overall higher interest in becoming an entrepreneur.
An additional 2017 GSRI study shows that Girl Scouts outperform other girls when it comes to our five leadership outcomes: developing a strong sense of self, seeking challenges and learning from setbacks, displaying positive values, forming and maintaining healthy relationships, and identifying and solving problems in their communities.
Did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the largest girl-led entrepreneurial program in the world? When girls go door to door, set up booths, or sell cookies online, they’re also preparing for a bright future as a female business leader or entrepreneur. With the cookie program, girls gain essential skills and work as a team to accomplish goals and solve problems, while building the confidence they need to shine as girls, as young women, and as future leaders.
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute, girls say the cookie program:
- Increased their interest in entrepreneurship (86%)
- Helped them believe they can be an entrepreneur someday (91%)
- Helped them build the skills to succeed as an entrepreneur (92%)
- Gave them opportunities to make decisions while taking responsibility for their cookie business (76%)
Innovation in Action
Girl Scout entrepreneurs are not only business leaders but also community leaders who create positive change for society. They stand out for their willingness to try something new and the ability to solve problems in novel ways. While earning their Gold Awards, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, girls lead teams while using innovation and creative problem solving to make a difference in their neighborhoods and the world beyond. They establish new connections as they create networks of other individuals who can help them achieve their goals. Most importantly, they use failure as an opportunity for growth and learn to never give up!
Girl Scouts Dream BIG
More than half (52%) of female business leaders in the United States are Girl Scout alums. Among these famous formers are Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube; Virginia Rometty, CEO of IBM; Elizabeth Dole, former President of American Red Cross; and Carol Bellamy, Executive Director of UNICEF.
From Main Street to Wall Street, thousands of female CEOs, CFOs, and small business owners shared the experience of selling cookies as Girl Scouts, learning vital skills like goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics that propelled them to the top of their fields. No other program has the power to change more lives or create more female entrepreneurs in the 21st century.
Addressing the Gap
Nine in ten girls (89%) have already done something related to entrepreneurship, like volunteering, selling something as part of a fundraiser or school club, or finding a new way to use a product or service. However, girls from higher-income households have more experience with entrepreneurial-type activities than girls from lower-income households.
All girls need access to entrepreneurial experiences, which can contribute to academic achievement and career goals. Now is the time to engage girls with less access, so they’re not left behind in ways that can affect their futures. One way to address this gap is to initiate partnerships with organizations (like Girl Scouts!) that provide mentors and programs to girls who need them the most.
How We Deliver
Although girls express confidence in their ability to be entrepreneurs, they also identify key challenges to getting started, including not knowing where to start (34%), fear of failure (29%), not thinking entrepreneurship is worth the risk (38%), and the perception of an uphill battle related to gender equality. Girl Scouts gives them a way to develop the attitudes, skills, and courage they need to succeed, as well as a safe space where they can use failure as motivation to keep trying!
Girls are clear about what support they need:
- More entrepreneurship courses/programs (64%)
- To be mentored by an entrepreneur (51%)
- More financial literacy or money-management courses or programs (40%)
- To learn more about female entrepreneurs (38%)
With the mentorship, badge programs, highest awards, and more she’ll find at Girl Scouts, your girl will be supported in all her ventures, have experiences that will benefit her future, and be exposed to more opportunities that support entrepreneurship. To transform interest into reality, we need to remove the obstacles that girls themselves identify, including perceptions that women experience more setbacks than men in the business world. Girls want the resources, and we’re ready to deliver!
Ready to get started? Learn about all of the ways Girl Scouts can support her entrepreneurial spirit and more by visiting here.