Support economic growth, by:
The proportion of working-age women who are engaged in entrepreneurial activity was 6.3% in 2012 compared to 11.6% for men
Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor
19% of SMEs are majority-led* by women
* Either run by a woman or have a management team that is over 50% women
Where as 49% of SMEs are entirely led by men
Source: BIS Small Business Survey 2012
Many women perceive access to finance as a barrier to starting up their own business and currently women-led SMEs are less likely to use external finance than men. However, there is evidence to suggest that those who did apply for finance were more successful than male-led SMEs51.
The evidence suggests that women are less likely than men to think they have the skills needed to start a business and are more likely to be prevented by a fear of failure. In 2011, only 29% of women felt they had the skills to start a business, compared with 45% of men52. This may be linked to wider issues of lacking self-confidence rather than an actual lack of skills.
Speaking to women, we have heard that there aren’t enough diverse female role models to inspire them and show them it is possible to become an entrepreneur.
It is vital that we support women to realise their potential, to equip them with the skills and the confidence they require and to support them on their journey to starting a business.
Promoting entrepreneurship in early education stages and equipping young women with skills, networking opportunities and confidence is crucial to ensuring a future generation of female entrepreneurs. There are already excellent examples of good practice in this area, for example through the work of Young Enterprise which offers a wealth of practical ways to help young people aged 14-25 to get a taste for running their own business. Lucy Cohen and Sophie Hughes, founders of Mazuma UK Ltd, are a good example of successful female entrepreneurs who attribute their achievements to taking part in Young Enterprise during their college years.Go to Mazuma case study
We want to make sure this opportunity is consistent and available to all, and to ensure that all young women who are considering setting up their own business know enterprise is a career option and can access the support they need.
83% of women who have started their own business have known someone else who has done so53. This demonstrates the importance of role models in inspiring women to believe that becoming an entrepreneur is a viable career option.
Promote female entrepreneurs though the newly appointed Entrepreneur in Residence.Go to Pistashio Rose case study
Women consistently say access to finance is a barrier to them starting their own business. We want to encourage more women to consider all the finance options available to them, including from alternative sources such as crowd funding and angel investors, and support them in accessing finance. So, when a great idea occurs to them, they know where to get the initial capital to start their business.
The differences between men’s and women’s aspirations, and between the sectors they tend to work in, are not always reflected in the current support services which – women entrepreneurs tell us – can often take a ‘one size fits all’ approach to delivering information. We want to make sure that women who want to start up their own business get good quality information which is relevant to them.