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May 7, 2012 / Women Presidents' Organization

Women Entrepreneurs Face a “Green Ceiling”

It should come as no surprise that women face a glass ceiling when it comes to success in the business world. New research suggests that similar barriers exist when it comes to finding investors. A study conducted by the University of Utah recently identified a “Green Ceiling,” or a bias against female CEOs looking for investors. The research found a reluctance to invest in IPOs lead by women due to perceptions that female founders/CEOs were less capable. “Like the glass ceiling of corporate America it comes to financing,” says the report. “Taken as a whole, our results suggest that gender stereotypes are alive and well and, moreover, that such stereotypes impact investment decisions.”

This year, 10 percent of our WPO 50 Fastest Growing Women Owned/Led Companies, sponsored by American Express OPEN, said they planned to take their businesses public. Despite their incredible growth and success, many are likely to face a unique set of challenges when it comes to finding investors. When surveyed, forty percent of this year’s winners felt that they were not on a level playing field with men. The self-sufficiency and determination of these women speaks volumes. Of the 90 percent who started the business themselves, 60 percent used their own personal funds compared to only 8 percent who received funds from investors. An additional 20 percent used funds from friends or family while 16 percent used a bank loan.

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