Case Studies, Business & Human Rights

EY: Equipping Women Entrepreneurs for Scale

UN Global Compact Network Australia | March 8, 2017

EY is a leading global professional services firm, with over 231,000 staff in 150 countries. In 2008, EY launched its Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program in the US – an executive development program for established women-led businesses ready to scale their operations and become market leaders – which has now expanded globally.

Women entrepreneurs face specific issues that their male counterparts do not, including access to capital and success at pitching for it; networking; and advice on how to scale their businesses internationally. Further, at current rates of change, it will take 170 years to reach gender parity [1].

EY’s research with Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership shows there are specific force multipliers for women businesses to grow [2]:

  1. A strong community.
  2. An authentic purpose.
  3. A flexible, adaptive leadership style.

In order to activate these multipliers and accelerate change and help women reach their full economic potential, EY launched the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program – an executive development program for established women-led businesses that are ready to scale their operations and become market leaders – in the US nearly 10 years ago.

The firm expanded the program to the Asia Pacific in 2014, noting that if women across the region achieved their full economic potential, the region’s economy would earn as much as US$89 billion more per year [3].

“Research has shown that the most successful entrepreneurs accelerate growth through a set of key behaviours, including their ability to evaluate financing for expansion, establish key advisory networks and build a public profile. Through the EWW program, EY aims to provide the tools, guidance and networks needed to promote these behaviours among high-potential women entrepreneurs and help ensure that they are limited only by their own definition of success.” – Annette Kimmitt, EY’s Global Middle Market Leader and Executive Sponsor, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Asia-Pacific

The program connects women leaders to the best knowledge, expertise and networks, other like-minded women, potential business partners, suppliers, and investors throughout Asia-Pacific and globally.

The program has been very successful across the world. In the Americas, women business owners who participated in our program have reported a 49% increase in average annual revenue and a 26% increase in average annual job growth. Feedback from the Asia Pacific program has also been positive to date, with participants noting they had shifted in their thinking, business preparedness, and vision for their companies.

“The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program gave me access to an elite network of business women and important stakeholders. The opportunities that derived from this program helped me to grow as a leader and to take the next steps to grow my business.” – Lisa Mihardja, Founder and CEO, Alleira Batik, Indonesia, (EWW Asia-Pacific Class of 2017)

Read more about EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program here: http://www.ey.com/cn/en/services/strategic-growth-markets/ey-asia-pacific-entrepreneurial-winning-women


[1] 2016 Global Gender Gap report ( 2016, World Economic Forum)

[2] http://www.ey.com/us/en/services/strategic-growth-markets/ey-3-adaptations-to-help-women-entrepreneurs-scale-big

[3]  Progress of World’s Women: Access to Justice ( 2011-12, UN Women)

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UN Global Compact Network Australia