Saturday, March 03, 2007

Women Entrepreneurship in Japan

Japan maintains a traditional economic system that is deeply rooted in a male-dominant society. Women are expected to stay home and take care of their families. Social expectations toward women are low, regardless of a woman's education, ability, or career aspirations. In recent years, however, the Japanese economic system has begun to favor women who take an active part in the business world. Entrepreneurship rather than employment in large companies particularly offers Japanese women an improved chance of advancing in their careers.

The venture landscape is beginning to change, in the U.S. and in other countries. "Women have been starting businesses at twice the rate of men over the past several years,"[1] notes Robert Rosenberg, president of Insight, a leading telecommunications market research firm, in Small Business Telecom: Opportunities in the Women -- and Minority-Owned Small Business Marketplace.

Similar to that of the U.S., the business environment in Japan over recent years has also been drastically changing due to the internationalization of Japan's economy, an aging population, diversification of talent in corporate structure, diversification of lifestyles, and technological innovation.

Until recently, here were five (5) reasons potential entrepreneurs hesitated to start their own business.

Read more here about how women are starting to play a significant role as a critical knowledge-based workforce component in Japan. And just like the trend in the United States, they are beginning to show signs of favoring entrepreneurship over employment in Corporate Japan. Fascinating research. Charla Griffy-Brown is one of my favorite professors and she brought in co-author Noriko Oakland to share her vast experience in corporate Japan. Worth reading.

Also and as a sidenote, if you want a glimpse of what kind of resource women entrepreneurs in Japan tap into when they need help, click here. When you catch the following quote, you will be very grateful you run or are about to start a business in the USA:
In Japan, personal guarantees are required for small business loans. There is a high rate of suicide among Japanese men who fail to repay personal guarantees. The reasons for these suicides are the shame when the business fails and the need to use life insurance funds to pay off debts so that the banks will not harass friends and relatives who have given their guarantees for the loans/debts. This shows their cultural desire to “save face.”
Chapter 36
Eva Peron

I have one thing that counts and that is my heart. It burns in my soul, it aches in my flesh and it ignites my nerve: that is my love for the people and Peron. ~ Eva Peron

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