Women entrepreneurs could boost economy

The majority of female owner-managers are focused on growing their businesses.

According to a survey of women business leaders, 63 per cent intend to develop their enterprises, with 22 per cent looking into starting new ones.

Fran Currie, chief operating officer at Business Link in London, says: ‘The encouraging thing about these figures is that there is still a healthy appetite amongst women business leaders. It seems the recession has done little to curb their enthusiasm and many remain focussed on ambitious growth plans.’

In the survey of 520 respondents conducted by Business Link, the findings revealed that 39 per cent of women still feel they need to try harder than men to prove themselves as business leaders.

In regard to what they saw as their biggest obstacle, some 54 per cent said that it was balancing their work and family commitments, with 29 per cent saying their biggest obstacle was gaining the confidence of investors and bankers and 25 per cent said it was having to take on stereotypically male characteristics.

Currie adds: ‘It is clear that women are still not on a level playing field with men – gender stereotypes continue to be a barrier and far too many women entrepreneurs face an uphill battle as they develop and grow their business.’

Barbara Whiting, owner of Tag Hairdressing, says it hasn’t been easy managing a small business. She adds: ‘As a woman, I did have to confront gender stereotypes, which meant I had to be even more committed to developing this business.’

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