Number of female entrepreneurs is soaring, says new report

Liverpool-based social enterprise The Women’s Organisation says the research from Aston University highlights the value of female entrepreneurs to the UK economy. Neil Hodgson reports

Numbers of female entrepreneurs are soaring, says new study

 

More women than ever are starting their own businesses in the UK, new data shows.

And Liverpool-based social enterprise The Women’s Organisation (TWO) says the research from Aston University highlights the value of female entrepreneurs to the UK economy.

Supporting women

TWO has offered economic support more than 50,000 women since it was founded 21 years ago, many of whom have started their own enterprises.

In recent weeks it has renewed its push to help create more female entrepreneurs with chief executive Maggie O’Carroll urging women to “smash the glass ceiling”.

Rising number

The Aston research, using data from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), shows that the proportion of women early-stage entrepreneurs soared by 45% between 2003-06 and 2013-16, compared with just 27% among men.

It also revealed that the UK is above the European average in international league tables for female early-stage entrepreneurship.

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And while men are still twice as likely as women to start a business, overall the number of female entrepreneurs in the UK has risen faster than men in the past decade.

Regional differences

The latest data shows that women in the South East are the most likely to take the plunge and develop a business, while the North East region showed the least appetite to create a business.

Researchers have suggested these regional differences may partly be explained by the presence of higher numbers of graduates and mobile individuals, including international migrants.

Across both sexes, the 2016 UK early-stage entrepreneurship rate of 8.8% was significantly higher than 2015, and exceeded the previous long-run rate of around 6%, which prevailed until 2010.

Global comparison

The UK rate compares favourably with France (5.3%) and Germany (4.6%), confirming Britain as the start-up capital of Europe. However, this is still significantly lower than that of the US (12.6%).

Many developing economies display even higher rates of female entrepreneurship. In Ecuador, 31.9% of women are entrepreneurs, while other Latin American and South East Asian nations dominate the top spots.

Pamela Ball, research and partnership development officer with The Women’s Organisation

 

Indonesia and Brazil are the only ones of more than 60 GEM-participant countries where there are more female entrepreneurs than male.

Critical businesses

Pamela Ball, research and partnership development officer with TWO, said this latest data is extremely important: “The Women’s Organisation welcomes this comprehensive research.

“Women-owned businesses are critical to the health of the UK economy. This report highlights both some of the gains as well as barriers that female entrepreneurs have faced over the last decade in the UK.”

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