International Women’s Day Survey Reveals Continuing Funding Gap and Gender Differences in Approach to Entrepreneurship – Along with Many Similarities

Oakland, Calif. & MELBOURNE
8 Mar 2018
Male and female entrepreneurs around the world report extremely similar experiences and attitudes toward starting and running a business – except when it comes to raising outside capital. According to a recent global survey of more than 3,000 entrepreneurs, a significant funding gap between genders still exists, with men being twice as likely as their female counterparts to have raised at least $100,000 or more to fuel their business.

According to the second annual International Women’s Day Entrepreneurship Survey by online graphic design marketplace 99designs, 28% of the men polled raised at least $100K or more to start their business, as compared to just 15% of the women. These numbers show little change from the results of last year’s survey showing a gap of 12% vs. 6%, respectively.

In addition to being less likely to raise significant outside funding, female entrepreneurs were more likely to be operating home-based businesses (68% vs. 48% of men) and sole proprietorships (49% of women vs. 31% of men) than their male counterparts. They were also more likely to say they put in a “second shift” at night - 67% vs. 61% for men.

“Women all over the world have become more vocal over the last two years, speaking out and marching toward political, social and economic change. Many of these issues are present in the world of entrepreneurship, as you can see exposed through the results of our survey, which we hope paints an honest picture of where women business owners are today,”  said 99designs Chief Marketing and Operations Officer Pamela Webber. “It’s also interesting to see that – despite the gender funding gap – there is so much common ground between the sexes on the experience and attitudes toward entrepreneurship.”
More Similarities Than Differences Among Male and Female Entrepreneurs Overall
Overall, however, the survey revealed that male and female entrepreneurs share more similarities than differences. For example, both men and women:
  • Experience the same levels of guilt about spending time with their business
  • Cited “less time with friends” as the biggest sacrifice to being an entrepreneur - although men were more likely to cite “less time with family” than women at 46% vs. 34%)
  • See a “Hard Work Ethic” followed by “Confidence” as the top skills/traits needed to be a successful entrepreneur
  • Believe “Charisma,” “Intelligence” and “Financial Acumen” to be the most overrated traits for success as an entrepreneur
  • Named “Not asking for help” as the top “biggest mistake” they’ve made
  • Cited the same 2 “biggest fears” - 1) Finding new customers; 2) Getting out of my comfort zone
  • Listed the same top 3 motivations for starting a business: 1) Passion for or expertise in an area; 2) Freedom/flexible schedule; 3) Always wanted to be an entrepreneur
For an infographic presenting more detailed survey findings, along with interviews with female entrepreneurs around the world sharing their experiences and advice, please visit If you’d like more information about the survey methodology or more detailed findings across specific questions or categories of respondents, please contact

About 99designs
99designs is the world’s largest on-demand design marketplace, connecting a global community of freelance designers with businesses of all sizes to complete their design needs. Created by designers for designers, 99designs began with a group of designers who were competing together to create the best designs. In 2008, that friendly competition grew into a unique design marketplace that has now become the world leader in online graphic design. 99designs is changing the lives of designers around the world by providing them with an opportunity to access customers globally, to earn income, and to build their portfolios. 99designs has operations in the USA, Australia and Germany.
Media contact:
Aimee Grove