Fear is not an option

Despite the historical obstacles for women in the workplace, now is the time for female entrepreneurs to take the lead

By Amalia Moreno-Damgaard

This is a guest post from Amalia Moreno-Damgaard.

We live in a woman's world now. Female entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses are on the rise nationwide. 

Growing up, women are conditioned to the environment around them, and historically it has not been easy, whether you are born in the United States or elsewhere. One thing is true, the past and popular culture has had an impact on women worldwide.

From the time we have use of reason, we are shaped by what we hear and see around us.  Our elders may have at some point said "you cannot do that because you are a woman", or a man may have treated us unfairly, and this may have intimidated some. And those attitudes combined with a lack of entrepreneurial support, are in part, what has held many women back. But fear is not an option, despite the past. There is more support today than ever for women in business and they should use this support to strive and achieve as entrepreneurs and in the workplace.

Women are fiercely and gradually taking over the business space, not only because they have always been capable of more, but because they seek self-realization and fulfillment. Many have and are abandoning their corporate careers, like me, and taking a plunge into entrepreneurship to better align their passions with their work.

I am a double minority, born and raised in a foreign land, and consider that an asset because I live in a country where, with the right mindset, everything is possible.  According to the National Women's Business Council overall women entrepreneurship is not only on the rise, but Hispanic-owned businesses represent nearly 35% of all Hispanic firms in the U.S. followed in growth by Asian women-owned businesses, which in turn coincide with the fastest-growing minority groups in America.

Since 2014, Women's Entrepreneurship Day (WED) is celebrated annually at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, impacting 144 countries and empowering 4 billion women on the planet through a full-day conference. This organization, created by an entrepreneur who fights for the rights of all women, proclaimed November 19 officially as WED to commemorate and acknowledge the rising trend and need to empower and support women worldwide.

We talk so much about millennials these days, but we should also talk about all the generations that have preceded them, because the entrepreneurial scene that we see today really started happening long ago with pioneering women who have been examples throughout history. 

It is no secret that the information age has transformed every aspect of our lives, for better and for worse, and that it too has enabled millions of women to take charge of their own destinies, starting their own businesses or further developing an existing venture. Rapidly accessible information has made entrepreneurship more achievable.

Globally, women in business is a movement, according to WED and the UN's Global Women Business Conference Series. Personally speaking, during recent travels in Latin America, most recently in Nicaragua and Guatemala, I have seen a rise in women taking the lead in many upstarts and industries. This is unprecedented, as traditionally, women entrepreneurship in collective societies is not fostered and supported as in individualist countries of the Western world.

For the past 10 years, WeMN.org (a group I founded) has hosted several round table discussions with entrepreneurs from all over the world through a program sponsored by the State Department.  These experiential exchanges show too that women are eager to explore and learn beyond what is within their reach and do not see culture or language as barriers. 

Female entrepreneurs are here to stay and this is good for business and for society as a whole.  While many things are better for women in the workplace today, some issues remain that need work, and that is a good reason to encourage and support them. 

Nothing happens in a vacuum, and everyone is in fact responsible for a healthy environment for all of us to thrive and conquer.  We are daughters, sisters, wives, and mothers…  Viva women!

Amalia Moreno-Damgaard is an internationally recognized award-winning author and chef entrepreneur who consults and builds strategies for global food companies and non-profit organizations developing products and acting as brand ambassador and spokesperson and creating PR/marketing campaigns for successful high-end galas and fundraising events. Her mission is to bridge the knowledge gap of Latin American culture in the United States while educating companies and individuals through bilingual speaking and writing, strategic consulting, and fun healthy gourmet culinary experiences.