UK needs more women entrepreneurs

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Government must encourage female-owned businesses to grow economy.

The UK government must learn from the US and encourage female entrepreneurship and increase female-owned businesses if it is to really grow the economy, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has said.

The FSB said it is concerned that women-owned businesses only make up 29 percent of self-employed people in the UK despite nearly half (46 percent) of the working population being female.

In a new report, Women in business. Female entrepreneurship: creating growth and dispelling the myths, the FSB has called on the government to learn from the US and other EU countries to encourage female entrepreneurship by breaking down the barriers to self-employment, promoting alternative sources of financing, encouraging mentoring, and promoting female entrepreneurship role models.

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If the UK had the same level of female entrepreneurship as the US, there would be 600,000 extra women-owned businesses, contributing an additional £42 billion to the economy.

FSB chairman John Walker said: “The number of female entrepreneurs is strikingly low, and yet increasing the number of women who run their own small business will be good for the economy. The government is looking towards the private sector to put the economy back on track, so it is common sense to increase the number of women-owned firms across the country.

“The US has nurtured female entrepreneurship and now the UK needs to learn from them and do the same. By doing so it will help tackle high unemployment and cultivate an environment for growth. The government can take positive steps to ensure that self-employment is a real option for women and men alike in its budget this month.”

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