According to a report from MasterCard, 31.3% of businesses in Vietnam are managed by women. However, only few have successfully participated in establishing companies and raising capital in the start-up sector, especially with technology start-ups.
One of the best ways to encourage economic participation for women is to provide them with female role models who have achieved success in their work, investing, and starting a business.
In light of Vietnamese Women's Day, October 20, Hustle Fund together with Vietcetera held a discussion featuring three female guests with extensive experience, namely, Mrs. Thai Van Linh, a business consultant, investor and Shark Tank's judge; Ms. Xuan Nguyen, founder of FONOS and Bánh Mì 362; and Ms. Ngan "Sau", founder of Twenty Tools and Launch community.
During the discussion, the guests shared moments from their career journeys, their perspective on leadership as a woman, as well as tips for women to succeed in starting businesses.
According to the guests, women often face a series of invisible obstacles when doing business, especially regarding social prejudices. Both Ngan and Xuan have received a lot of negative attention when working in an environment where the majority are male. Xuan shared that she often had to ask male colleagues to stand in for her in meetings to gain more trust from business partners. Additionally, since the majority of investors are men, female-oriented products are somewhat "side-lined" and suffer many disadvantages in raising capital.
Women also experience setbacks from psychological barriers, especially regarding self-esteem. “When women are too modest about their achievements, investors are likely to have a negative impression of the company's potential,” Linh quoted her own experience.
Ngan explained that these psychological obstacles are partly due to the fact that most leadership and management resources are written by men, which unintentionally creates the stigma that one must be "tough" to succeed. However, she believed that women can use femininity as a strength to create their own leadership style, independent from the typical male "narrative".
Speaking of entrepreneurship, the guests encouraged women to cultivate their own knowledge through multi-dimensional sources of information, and learn from others who have experience in the marketplace. From there, they can reduce the number of risks when doing business as well as have more resources when raising capital.
Watch the full talk here.