Female entrepreneur numbers Increasing

The fact that more women are choosing to start their own business is 'really good news', says the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

According to the organisation, the number of women running their own start-ups is ‘increasing rapidly’.

A spokesperson for the FSB says that women tend to found their own firms later in life, for example in their 30s or 40s.

He comments: ‘It’s becoming something that is quite possible to do and it’s a bit easier for women to balance work and life, perhaps, than it was and you can do that a bit more easily if you’re working from home in particular.’

The spokesperson adds that the self-employed sector has until now been relatively male-dominated and explains that ‘the situation appears to be changing quite fast now’.

According to the FSB’s Annual Small Business Survey, the ‘vast majority’ of SMEs are led by men, with only 14 per cent led by women or by a management team mainly composed of females.

Female entrepreneurs not just motivated by ‘glass ceiling’

An ‘accumulation of events’ leads to women leaving their existing jobs to start up their own businesses, says new research.

Newcastle Business School has found that the uneven pay that women entrepreneurs tend to receive compared to men or ‘glass-ceiling’ is not as significant as it once was and a number of factors contribute to the decision.

A desire for independence and personal circumstances are two of the reasons why women become entrepreneurs, says the research.

Nicola Patterson, a graduate teacher at the school, says she found women were often pushed into entrepreneurship by an event, or a series of events.

She says it was important that employers understand the pressures affecting women and ‘should consider that a range of factors internally and externally to the organisation may lead to women’s decision to leave a company’.

Caroline Theobald, founder of the marketing and networking company the Bridge Club, set up her business because of the influence of other business people within her family.

When she spotted a gap in the market she set up her firm and now claims to bring in £5.2 million for her clients.

Despite having experienced sexism in the 1980s, Theobald says that prejudice in the workplace is changing.

According to figures from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 6.7 per cent of women and 15.8 per cent of men own or manage their own business and female entrepreneurs make up 6.8 per cent of the UK working population.

Female-led start-ups ‘need confidence’

Confidence is the main hurdle for women starting a business, as they have to earn it and build on it, says one female entrepreneur.

Deirdre Bounds, a businesswoman who went from a bedsit to selling her ethical travel company I-to-I for millions, says women often do not have the inbuilt confidence that men do.

She admits she ‘didn’t have huge confidence’ in her abilities when starting out in business and that this is a common problem for women.

‘Confidence is the main hurdle women face. You’ve really got to enjoy what you do and if you’re passionate about it, there’s nothing to stop you doing it,’ Bounds says.

She states reputation is also key to being successful and that women should take more risks, saying they are often very cautious when starting out.

Bounds adds many females who look for funding to start a new venture will only ask for small sums of money, whereas their male counterparts will be more assertive and ask for more.

The entrepreneur recently spoke at a Yorkshire Women in Business event in Leeds, aimed at female start-ups.

She found attendees were worried their personal responsibilities would mean they could not put as much time into the new business as they would like.

See also: Inspiring ambition in the female founders of the future

Adam Wayland

Adam Wayland

Adam was Editor of SmallBusiness.co.uk from 2006 to 2008 and prior to that was staff writer on sister publication BusinessXL Magazine.

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Female Entrepreneurs