#Entrepreneurs — 09.06.2016

From Palo Alto To The French Open, Women Share Their Success As Entrepreneurs!

As part of the BNP Paribas Women Entrepreneur Program at Stanford, women entrepreneurs gathered at a morning meeting in Paris on 4 June to discuss their success and share the challenges they face in business.

The discussions were launched by Sofia Merlo, Co-CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management, and follow on from a week-long course held in Stanford in the summer of 2015. Other events are planned as part of this latest peer exchange series in partnership with the Women Initiative Foundation.

Several priorities topics were identified. They will serve as the basis for a survey on women’s success in business conducted by the Women Initiative Foundation in five European countries, which will provide insight and conclusions on how to promote women entrepreneurship.

A number of issues were raised as being important for all entrepreneurs during a company’s life cycle. These include managing the company’s staff, having a strong support network while maintaining a long-term vision and growth path, increasing sales, especially abroad, and seizing takeover opportunities.

Overcoming stereotypes

Raising funds was mentioned as a particular problem for women entrepreneurs at all stages in their company’s growth. “When I meet a panel of investors to raise funds, I very rarely see a woman’s face,” explained one participant, “even though the meetings are often prepared by women...”.

A number of gender stereotypes also need to be overcome: individuals who lack self-confidence are often perfectionists or have big ambitions, and these are important traits in business!

It is crucial that successful women serve as role models in all these areas. This is where BNP Paribas comes in. Between now and 2018, nearly 150 women from Europe, Asia, the Middle East and the United States will take part in the BNP Paribas Women Entrepreneur Program at Stanford - a week-long certified training course on leadership and expanding a business.