Earlier this week a report suggested that the UK is actually struggling when it comes to supporting its female entrepreneurs.
Just over a quarter (28 per cent) of owners of businesses worth more than $1m (£635,000) are women, compared with 38 per cent in the US. In fact, out of seven countries featured in the HSBC report, there was only one country with a lower proportion of women bosses – Germany.
Asia, it seems, is the place to be – over half of entrepreneurs worth more than $1m are women, compared with a third in the West.
But other recent research shatters some false stereotypes, with the data showing that British women show stronger entrepreneurial ambitions than their male counterparts. More surprisingly, women earn more than men – although that lead is reversed among non-entrepreneurs, where men earned at least a fifth more than women.
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We must move up these rankings, but how can we do this? The evidence is simple and compelling.
Entrepreneurial mothers are the best way to teach entrepreneurship. Women whose mothers are self-employed are up to 2.69 times more likely than other women to be self-employed themselves, as opposed to being employees or homemakers (but interestingly, there’s no such effect on women of fathers’ self-employment status, says the team led by Francis Greene of the University of Warwick). Mothers’ attitudes toward work have a direct influence on the entrepreneurial propensities of their daughters.
Women entrepreneurs achieve higher profits and demonstrate a commitment to providing stability for their employees more than men.
With the success of entrepreneurial companies generating the highest number of new jobs, fostering nearly all of the growth in the UK economy and as a consequence, impacting wealth creation (which is vital to pay for public services), knocking down barriers to women is an economic essential. More women, more profitability: Numbers don’t lie.
Inclusive and diverse workplaces are also associated with greater innovation. We don’t just want start ups; we want scale ups – and that means constant evolution, innovation and growth. The British economy relies on SME’s evolving into market leaders; future global force’s of nature. Our blueprint for success is therefore interweaved with the rise of the female entrepreneur.
While in theory gender has no place in business today (I believe it should be about talent not gender) the data and research points to issues of unconscious bias and at times, blatant sexism, remaining. While the number of women in entrepreneurship is on the increase, if women started businesses at the same rates as men, there would be one million more entrepreneurs in the UK. That’s a lot of economic firepower.
Countries that do not capitalise on the full potential of one half of their societies are undermining their competitive potential.
Put simply, women entrepreneurs are good for business.