Forget the glass ceiling ... how about the 'pink ghetto'?

February 24, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Erin Albert has had enough of the snide comments about the “cute” businesses founded by female entrepreneurs.

The owner of two businesses herself—Indianapolis health care consultancy Pharm LLC and networking group Yuspie—Albert has interviewed dozens of enterprising individuals for a pair of books on the topic.

And she’s not buying the criticism emerging from some corners that there’s a “pink ghetto” of women-owned firms that are somehow less worthy than the myriad male-led tech startups that garner so much attention and praise.

“Business is business,” she said. “I don’t care if they’re selling jewelry or diapers or whatever—let’s just celebrate the fact that they want to be entrepreneurs. It’s hard enough without bashing each other.”

True enough, but the fact remains that less than 20 percent of woman-owned firms nationally report bringing in over $100,000 in annual revenue after three years, according to a 2011 report from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Nearly a third of male-owned firms surpass that benchmark.

While there certainly are exceptions, Albert said men and women have different motivations when it comes to entrepreneurship.

“Women aren’t empire builders,” she said. “They see entrepreneurship as a way to reinvent and manage their entire lives—not just a business.”  

Serial entrepreneur Jenn Kampmeier of Westfield certainly fits that profile, nurturing a handful of startups along with her 6-year-old son, Zane. (Read more about her in the next issue of IBJ.)

Kampmeier proudly describes herself as a “mompreneur” despite the “business light” stigma some attach to the term. “It’s who I am,” she says.

What’s your take on the issue? How can female entrepreneurs—and their businesses—be taken as seriously as the tech firms that dominate the startup community?

    I agree with Erin Albert. I don't buy into this stereotype. And, it would have been good to have a representative of the Network of Women Business Owners (NAWBO)weigh in on this topic. I'm confident that they could have identified many local NAWBO members whose firms generate more than $100,000 in annual revenue.
    • NAWBO
      Thanks Sharon and agree NAWBO should have been contacted.I have been involved with NAWBO here in Indy for 14 yrs and sit on the National board in DC. NAWBO Indianapolis did a survey of their membership and 80% of their members make more than a million in revenue.
    • Why "Ghetto"?
      I don't understand why it is called a pink "ghetto", because that word has such negative connotations. Isn't any company that creates revenue and jobs (especially in this economy) a GOOD thing? All entrepreneurs aren't neccessarily looking to start a dynasty - many of us are just trying to make a decent living while having the freedom of working for ourselves.
    • Tech Matters
      I believe that there may be some specific reference to technology-based startups in this article and the original Forbes article. Being the founder and budding entrepreneur of a technology-based startup myself, I can see how some make assumptions about women in technology. (As a side note, my company is not about jewelry, fashion or Forbes notes.)

      I believe part of the issue in the technology realm specifically may be the lack of women to turn to for advice, guidance and direction. It's not that you can't see the same counsel from your male counterparts (because you can and certainly do), it's that sometimes your product or service is aided by the filters of someone who might use your technology, or who fits your demographic.
      The short answer still remains that you need solid business skills first, the ability to write a great plan and understand your business and then the support to make it happen for a solid execution. I'd have to say I can't argue with Albert, Forbes or NAWBO reps here from various standpoints. If you have the skills, your gender really doesn't seem to matter.
    • Ghetto?
      4. any mode of living, working, etc., that results from stereotyping or biased treatment.

      That would seem to fit.

      (Just because there are meanings other than what you associate with it doesn't mean there aren't others.)

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by
    1. Angela IS the best RD

    2. We are a nation of speed. All of our younger lives are filled with deadlines, quotas and bottom lines. We start to ease out of the pressured rat-race when we finally see "retirement." The most enjoyable travel on the planet is passenger rail service. Indy to Chicago does not beat Megabus or Southwest Airlines in speed. Passenger rail however has the best seating, mammoth legroon, seat backs that recline to more than 45 degrees and employers that really want you to return as a customer. Indiana municipalities need to maintain subsidies to support this transportation mode. Losing it is loss for all of us.

    3. Good day! I just want to testify how i got my loan from Mr. Eric Lefkofsky after i applied several times from various loan lenders who claimed to also testify right in this forum,i thought the testimonies where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan. Until a friend of mine introduce me to this popular Mr. Eric Lefkofsky who promised to help me and indeed he did as he promised without any form of delay. I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr. Eric lefkofsky who indeed helped me with the loan and changed my belief. I promised to share this testimony after I got my loan. I don't know if you are in any way in need of a genuine and urgent loan,free feel to contact Mr. Eric Lefkofsky via their email{}

    4. Its a THUG issue. Bleecker Street and NYX are thug bars. They attract thugs of all races. Places that attract thugs need to be kicked out of Broad Ripple. Ain't nobody got time for that!

    5. Hello everyone, My name is Marian Gareth, I am from the Texas, United State, am here to testify of how i got my loan from Mr Andre Frank {} after i applied Two times from various loan lenders who claimed to be lenders right in this forum,i thought their lending where real and i applied but they never gave me loan. I was in need of an urgent loan to start a business and i applied from various loan lenders who promised to help but they never gave me the loan.Until a friend of mine introduce me to Mr Andre Frank the C.E.O of Andre Frank Loan Company who promised to help me with a loan of my desire and he really did as he promised without any form of delay, I never thought there are still reliable loan lenders until i met Mr Andre Frank, who really help me with my loan and changed my lief for better. I don't know if you are in need of an urgent loan, free feel to contact Mr Andre Frank on his email{} for help