The best entrepreneurs have in common 10 discrete talents, according to Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal (at l.), senior consultant and lead researcher in entrepreneurship for Gallup. In her recent book, Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder (Gallup Press, September 2014), Dr. Badal identifies those talents as business focus, confidence, creative thinker, delegator, determination, independent, knowledge-seeker, promoter, relationship-builder and risk- taker. You can read her definitions of those traits here.

But for most entrepreneurs around the world the 11th trait in common is gender. The number of women-owned businesses is rising rapidly in the U.S. but most of them tend to be small, employing fewer people and generating less revenue than male-owned businesses. Additionally, relatively few women-owned businesses are in high-tech fields. In an interview on the Gallup site, Dr. Badal addresses why these disparities need to change.

“Women are 50% of the U.S. population and should be creating 50% of new companies and new jobs. Currently, female-owned businesses account for approximately a million employer firms—or businesses with at least one employee—and they employ about 8 million people and add over a trillion dollars to the U.S. economy. Compare this to about 3 million employer businesses owned by men, employing about 41 million people and adding over 8 trillion dollars to the U.S. economy,” says Dr. Badal.

“There is a business case to be made in favor of more female-owned businesses. Gender diversity in business ownership is a vehicle for accessing critically valuable resources for the success of the economy,” she adds. “Why shouldn’t we leverage the diverse thinking, creativity, innovation capacity and diverse cognitive resources of 50% of our population? It would help create bigger, better and more socially relevant ventures. We need to have a level playing field for men and women, but right now, we don’t.”

Read the complete interview with Dr. Badal here. Join the conversation about what needs to change for women to open more businesses in all fields. Add your opinion or share you experience at Step up.

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