Although more women involve in entrepreneurship, their potential is not fully capitalized

Only one-third of companies are managed and owned by women, according to an analysis of the National Bureau of Statistics, UN Women and UNDP.


Women in entrepreneurship
Credit: UN Women Moldova

Although women's participation in entrepreneurship has improved over the past eight years, with an increase in their participation of about 6.4 percentage points (pp), women continue to represent a little-used growth potential and a minority in the business community, holding and managing about one-third of the companies. This is one of the findings of the study on gender perspective in business development, conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2018 and presented on 6 August at an online event. The research was developed within the Joint UN Programme "Strengthening the National Statistical System", with the support of UN Women Moldova, UNDP Moldova and Sweden.

"The report is a multifaceted analysis of women entrepreneurship in the Republic of Moldova in terms of gender and includes the socio-demographic characteristics of entrepreneurs, the influencing factors in starting and developing a business, access to finance and property, economic performance, business innovation and use of information technology, or remuneration in companies," said Vitalie Valcov, General Director, National Bureau of Statistics.

Dominika Stojanoska, Country Representative of UN Women Moldova, mentioned: “The study we are launching today will provide us with a wealth of information, data and accurate gender analysis that should be further used for removing challenges and barriers for women in business and for improving further the measures so that the ultimate beneficiaries and their families can benefit for their well-being. It can help the Government to advance progress in achieving the national SDG targets.”

“Women entrepreneurs have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19. The report reveals that women manage mainly micro-enterprises, which expose them to higher vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are currently being studied as part of the UNDP led socio-economic impact assessment,” noted Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative for the Republic of Moldova.

The author of the study, Rodica Nicoara, makes a comparative analysis with the situation of 2009, when NBS conducted a similar research.

Women hold micro-businesses more frequently than men (90.3% versus 82.3%) and rarely hold medium and large businesses (1.3% versus 3.3%). They rarely start businesses on their own initiative (12.1 pp less) and more often use their family members' support (11.8 pp more), the study finds.

Retail, services, hotels and restaurants are of greater interest to women, while men are more likely to opt for agriculture, construction, transport and storage, and ICT.

Medium and large enterprises held by women participate more actively in export activities: about 39% of medium enterprises (5 p.p. more than men) and about 63% of large enterprises (20 p.p. more than men). At the same time, all companies of women entrepreneurs, except those consisting of 0-1 employees, use more intensively the ICT facilities in operations, proving their orientation towards increased efficiency and productivity.

Women tend to grow their businesses faster and create more jobs. Since beginning, women's businesses have grown by an average of 84%, while those of their male partners by about 78%.Women entrepreneurs receive less support as part of entrepreneurship support programs compared to men, the share of women entrepreneurs supported being lower than the share of female entrepreneurship at national level (23.8% compared to 33.9%).

The data sources for the report included the results of the statistical survey on business development, conducted by the NBS in September 2018, as well as other business surveys.