Women-owned businesses now contribute an incredible £105bn to the UK economy. So, as part of International Women’s Day on the 8th March, we’re celebrating the achievements of all female entrepreneurs in Ryedale and supporting the next generation.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) published a report in November 2018 called ‘Supporting Women’s Enterprise in the UK: The Economic Case’, which revealed an increase in both the economic contribution and employment generated by women-owned businesses. However, it also revealed there are still 2.7 million women who want to open a business – but haven’t. And only 22% of small and medium-sized businesses are majority owned by women.
Research from the FSB’s previous report (‘Women in Enterprise: The Untapped Potential’) explores how women face the typical challenges of setting up a small business, such as cash flow and access to finance, but also additional challenges that are specific to them, including:
• Balancing work and family life (40%)
• Achieving credibility for the business (37%)
• Lack of confidence (22%)
Obstacles like these are limiting women’s ability to start, run and grow their business. It’s a huge potential
loss for the economy. For example, if we were to harness this untapped potential, it could lead to an extra 340,000 businesses, support 425,000 new jobs and add up to £10.1bn to the UK economy.
The FSB’s report called on the Government to recognise the economic contribution of women and build on this with career advice, role models and access to business support and finance.
More needs to be done to help women and lead the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Through long-term business support, vocational education, better advice, mentoring and statutory Maternity Allowance for the self-employed, more women could have the skills and confidence to set up their own business.
In the report, a quarter of female business owners highlighted access to finance as a key challenge. So, more is being done to make women aware of the full range of finance options, including alternative sources such as crowdfunding and angel investors.
Supporting women’s enterprise is crucial in helping individuals realise their full potential, and in turn, boost the economy. That’s why the FSB is working with key stakeholders to set up programmes such as:
• She Means Business in partnership with Facebook for practical help and support through online learning sessions.
• The Women in Enterprise taskforce.
• Regional events, resources and networking opportunities (details of which are coming soon).
by Carolyn Frank, Federation of Small Businesses Development Manager