A report compiled for the Women’s Business Council calls for development opportunities for women entrepreneurs, following research suggesting the UK economy could be boosted by £100 billion.
A recent study shows that 5.7% of working-age women were engaged in early stage entrepreneurial activity in 2014, compared to more than 10% of working-age men.
Longevity rates of women’s businesses lower than those set up by men, resulting in fewer businesses run by women achieving scale.
According to the report, targeted help for early stage women entrepreneurs could provide a £100 billion boost to the UK economy over the next ten years. Fewer than 6% of working-age women are engaged in early stage entrepreneurial activity, compared to more than 10% of men.
Increasing female participation in the sector to 10% would take the overall economic contribution of women-led SMEs to more than £180bn by 2025.
Drawing on findings from research and interviews with more than 20 successful female entrepreneurs from across the UK, the report, which was undertaken by Deloitte, seeks to establish the common barriers which prevent women from setting up and succeeding with their businesses and makes recommendations as to what could be done to promote greater success.
Denis Woulfe, co-author of the report and vice chair at Deloitte said: “Despite a substantial increase in the number of start-ups in the UK over the past five years, the proportion of working-age women engaged in early stage entrepreneurial activity has fallen over the same time period. The longevity rates for businesses led by women have also been lower. While there are many fantastic examples of women-led start-ups, these statistics show that much of the potential remains untapped.
“One of the barriers we identified to women setting up their own business was limited access to relevant role models, quality mentors and professional networks. These are vital for anyone looking to set up their first business. We need a more focused and connected programme of initiatives, involving a systematic approach to supporting women entrepreneurs to scale their businesses.”
Minister for Women, Equalities and Family Justice, Caroline Dinenage (pictured) said: “We must all work together to break down the barriers that prevent women from starting up a business and making it grow. The Government is supporting business-women by sponsoring mentoring roadshows and offering bespoke training, as well as providing start-up loans to help women achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.
“This report by Deloitte shines a light on the challenges faced by women in business and I’m grateful for their insight.”