Did you know that, despite ALL the growth in the overall numbers of women entrepreneurs, the rate of women’s entrepreneurship is half the rate of men, according to the Kauffman Foundation, which researches entrepreneurship? (See below for infographic.) “This is due to a variety of factors, including entrepreneurship being perceived as a male-dominated field, lack of financial capital and mentorship, and work-life balance challenges,” emailed Emily Fetsch, research assistant at Kauffman and coauthor of Labor After Labor.
It is also because you can’t be what you can’t see. “Economies with initiatives that increase visibility and access to role models are likely to encourage women entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses,” according to GEM Special Report: Women’s Entrepreneurship 2015. So I’m delighted that Dream, Girl, a documentary about five entrepreneurs, will be premiering on June 9 in New York City at the Paris Theater and live-streamed to Australia and San Francisco. Films like this are worth their weight in gold. It shows women running innovative and growth-oriented companies. The film is both inspirational and practical, providing advice that women can put to use in both their personal and business lives.
“As successful business owners, these trailblazers play a critical role as pioneers and inspiring role models,” according to 2015 Global Women Entrepreneur Leaders Scorecard. They played a critical role in inspiring Erin Bagwell to undertake producing and directing the film.
As a blogger, Feminist Wednesday, Bagwell was invited to a lot of networking events with women who were raising capital and running teams. At first, she felt like a fraud, like she didn’t deserve to be in the room. However, as she continued to attend events, her mindset shifted. “I could see myself doing the same thing,” said Bagwell. “I wanted to capture and share insights from these women so others could be inspired and learn from them, too. There wasn’t a movie about business from a female perspective.” Her movie is filling a gap.
In August of 2014, Bagwell did a Kickstarter campaign for Dream, Girl, raising $104,000 — nearly double her goal. The movie focuses on five entrepreneurs: Bagwell, Mariama Camara, Komal Minhas, Clara Villarosa and Annie Wang as well as super-angel Joanne Wilson, who is also an entrepreneur. It’s about the universal struggles women face: self sabotage, workacholism, perfectionism, wanting to be a good mother and have a successful business, among other things. “It’s an emotional and spiritual journey,” said Bagwell.
Spoiler alert: Dreaming big is sometimes done better with someone else. The movie includes the formation of a business partnership between Bagwell and one of the entrepreneurs. This is not a surprise. Women benefit more than men from cofounder encouragement and other types of social support, according to The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur: Are Successful Women Entrepreneurs Different From Men?, a Kauffman research report.
Shhh, I’ll also share a secret Bagwell told me. When she had a bad day while making the film, hit a low or lost her confidence, Bagwell watched footage from the movie for words of encouragement, inspiration and advice.
As they say, seeing is believing. Bagwell is going for the brass ring. She wants to generate $10 million in revenue from the film by the end of the year. She already has 200 requests for screenings and wants 1,000 hosted screening by year-end. It will also be available on iTunes. A curriculum has been developed that can inspire college student through baby boomers. It’s for any group of women who want the courage to dream big.
Bagwell also employed an all female production team because opportunities in film are so limited for women. A whopping 85% of films had no female directors in 2014, 80% had no female writers, 33% had no female producers, 78% had no female editors and 92% had no female cinematographers, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.
I, for one, can’t wait to see the film. I hope to see you on June 9.