5 tips from our founder for female entrepreneurs to skyrocket their business

Group of businesswomen meeting in the office

YoungGems® founder and chief creator, Gemma Manning, is a serial entrepreneur, game changer and visionary business leader. With a background in strategic marketing, communications and international business, she has forged a career in starting and building global companies. She has successfully established three businesses with international reach—Manning & Co., a strategic marketing consultancy, and Gemstar, a growth partner for companies in Singapore and South-East Asia, and entrepreneurship educator, YoungGems®. Recognised at the highest levels including by Singapore’s government, Gemma has forged a successful career at times in the face of adversity. This article is written by Gemma for all female entrepreneurs and founders out there.

Over the past several years, men have outnumbered women among the population of new startup founders by a ratio of nearly six to one. In 2023, that disparity got even worse. Just 13.2% of founders last year were women. That’s down from 15.1% in 2022, and it’s the lowest annual figure on Carta dating back to at least 2018.

As a female founder and manager of three businesses, Manning & Co., Gemstar Technology and YoungGems®, I have learnt to be confident and assertive about my ideas, and outspoken about my achievements. These traits don’t come naturally to a lot of females, especially businesswomen.

After almost 16 years of being in business, I have found that people can always find a reason to criticise you, discourage you, and dismiss your ideas. From the get-go, I’ve had people telling me, “That’s been done”, or “You’re taking on too much; it’ll never work.”

At times, I have almost been derailed by taking criticism to heart. However, I have learnt that criticism can give you the strength and resolve to propel your ideas into exciting new territory.

Here are my five top tips for female founders to skyrocket your business ventures and careers, even when negativity abounds.

1. Speak out and stand strong

As a female founder, you are strong and capable, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise! Create a strong profile for yourself by networking and forming strong relationships. Women don’t tend to network enough, so develop your own profile by meeting and greeting people with confidence. Don’t be afraid to speak out about your achievements.

2. Be bold and champion for change

Taking a leap of faith can be scary, but becoming a successful female founder is all about risks. Making mistakes and even failing at times is a key part of the journey. In the face of negative feedback, it’s especially important to be bold, daring and assertive. Be authentic and true to yourself, not only as an individual, but as a strong and successful woman in business.

3. Trust your instincts

Throughout my career, plenty of men (and women) have tried to convince me to move away from my core ideas. And I listened to them, believing that my superiors would know better. Over time, I’ve learnt to trust my instincts. As a result, I’ve made leaps and bounds with Gemstar, and have a third non-profit business, Light Years, in the works.

4. Network with positive people

Every woman founder deserves to feel valued and supported. When you dare to be different, being around negative people will only bring you down. By surrounding yourself with positive people, you can carve out new networking opportunities while promoting your unique profile and skills.



5. Inspire and empower other women

Many female leaders underestimate the power of praise and reward. By praising and rewarding other women for their ideas and achievements, you can build a strong and supportive community for businesswomen and girls everywhere. I’m passionate about being reachable and available to other women and advocating for more female talent to bring their visions to life.

Without learning how to overcome criticism and take risks, I wouldn’t have gained the extra strength and resolve I needed to build a successful career. I hope that these top five tips inspire and empower you to do the same and thrive to be powerful female founders.

Are you a female founder looking to take your business to the next level? YoungGems® 6-week Advanced Entrepreneurship program is just right for you. Find out more.

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