SINGAPORE - Access to higher education, opportunities for career development and greater financial independence.
They are the factors that have placed Singapore among the top five countries in the region with favourable conditions for fostering entrepreneurship among women.
In the first Women's Entrepreneurial Index by Mastercard, women's entrepreneurship in Singapore was found to be largely driven by various push factors, including greater opportunities to attain advanced knowledge assets, as well as access to mainstream financial services.
Ms Deborah Heng, country manager of Mastercard Singapore, said that women in Singapore are increasingly playing active roles in the local economy by exhibiting healthy workforce participation and taking on more leadership roles.
"Given these encouraging factors, female entrepreneurs in Singapore are well-positioned to rise above the challenges through a robust network, strong social infrastructure, as well as easy access to capital in order to pursue their personal goal to become a successful entrepreneur," she said.
Overall, Singapore was ranked 5th out of 16 Asia-Pacific markets, behind New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Conversely, conditions facilitating female enterpreneurship were found to be the weakest in three South Asian markets: India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
According to the study, female entrepeneurship is progressing at different rates and in different ways across the 16 countries.
On the one hand, developed economies in the region, such as New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan, provide better supporting conditions for female entrepreneurs to prosper.
But on the other hand, female entrepeneurship in emerging markets like Thailand and Philippines is driven by higher levels of women's advancement and entrepreneurship factors such as business leadership and political representation.
Consequently, developed countries foster more "opportunity entrepreneurs" who are driven by a desire to progress; whereas emerging markets tend to breed more "necessity entrepreneurs", who are driven by the need to survive.
Commenting on the results of the study, Ms Georgette Tan, senior vice president for communications at Mastercard Asia Pacific, said that greater economic inclusion of women can bring pivotal shifts in their path to economic betterment, especially in emerging markets.
"However, we still have a long a way to go to transform that realisation into real economic inclusion by eradicating the traditional and obsolete gender roles that are so deeply entrenched in societies, cultures and practices," she added.