Report | 2021

Executive Summary

In both the United States and China, thousands of women are becoming entrepreneurs. Over the past 20 years, the number of women-owned businesses in the United States has grown 114 percent. Similarly, the All-China Women’s Federation reports that women accounted for one-quarter of total China-based entrepreneurs as of 2017. The upward trends in both countries underscore the growing economic opportunities for women in the entrepreneurial ecosystem, especially in the rapidly growing technology industry. However, despite the availability of national data highlighting these trends, we know little about the patterns of opportunities and challenges faced by women entrepreneurs, specifically those in tech.

This report, produced in collaboration with The Mulan Foundation, seeks to address this gap by examining the key challenges faced by female founders in tech in the United States and China. Part I investigates these trends by synthesizing and sharing insights from 330 survey respondents across both countries, comparing the opportunities and challenges faced by women tech entrepreneurs in each economy. Part II then dives deep into the U.S. perspective, analyzing the survey responses from American women entrepreneurs in the tech sector and drawing from in-depth profiles of 17 individual founders. Their diverse experiences offer lessons for other women entrepreneurs.

Our findings in both countries suggest that limited access to capital and networks are key challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in tech. In addition, gender bias and stereotypes inhibit growth opportunities for women-founded businesses. This report provides recommendations for how to support women entrepreneurs in technology, and it highlights opportunities for women founders and aspiring entrepreneurs.

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