5 barriers for female entrepreneurs

I found this really interesting article in The Telegraph so, with thanks to them, I’ve shared the main points below . Full article link at the bottom FYI .

Female entrepreneurs need to rise above the challenges of childcare, finding funding, sexism, fear of failure and lack of mentors if they are to succeed in business. But an increasing amount of women are stepping away from corporate life to do so!

One in five businesses in the UK is run by a woman, according to official figures – even though women outnumber men in Britain by around 900,000. Last September, the British Government announced it was launching a review into the barriers to women in business. The Rose review, spearheaded by NatWest chief executive of commercial and private banking, Alison Rose, revealed that the advancement of female entrepreneurs could be worth £250bn to the UK economy.

1 A shortage of funding

Last year, the Telegraph, alongside 200 British business leaders including Samantha Cameron, Mary Portas and Karren Brady, submitted an open letter to the Government, highlighting the chronic and unfair finance gap faced by female entrepreneurs.

Just 9pc of the funding funnelled into UK start-ups goes to women-run businesses, according to the Entrepreneurs Network. Women also tend to start businesses with much less available capital than male entrepreneurs.

New research from insurer AXA found that 63pc of men start their business straight out of a full-time job compared with just 38pc of women, who are often working part-time or coming out of a career break. This puts them at a major disadvantage.

2 The psychological barriers and bias against women

Some female leaders experience outright sexism. According to a Telegraph poll, two-thirds of 750 female founders felt they were not taken seriously when pitching to investors, and felt they were treated differently to their male counterparts.In meetings, I don’t get patronised… I get glossed over. I get all the niceties, and all of the hard-hitting questions go to my dad

Yet there is no evidence that female-led companies perform worse than their male-led counterparts. Indeed, several studies have found they are actually more profitable. According to research from Boston Consulting Group and MassChallenge, businesses founded by women deliver twice the revenue for each dollar invested, compared with those founded by men.

But there is evidence that the technology sector is becoming more open to female founders. GP Bullhound, the London-based investor, recently said it has seen an end to the “boys’ club” in technology. “We are seeing a growing number of rock-star female founders shake up the M&A markets with successful exits,” it said in its 2019 trends report.

3 The fear of failure

A recent report by Vistaprint found that British female business owners find failure more difficult to overcome than their male counterparts. More than two-thirds of female entrepreneurs admitted they find it hard to bounce back from failures, compared with 55pc of men.

This fear of failure is actively holding back women from creating start-ups: one in eight working women wants to start their own business, according to research from FreeAgent and OnePoll, compared with just 8pc of men. Yet of the six million businesses currently active in the UK, just 20pc are run by female founders.

Feelings of anxiety and the fear of failure can be exacerbated by working in male-dominated industries, where female founders can feel excluded or patronised.

4 Lack of networks and mentors

With fewer female founders, the pool of women who can mentor and advise their fellow entrepreneurs is consequently smaller. This makes it harder for enterprising women to learn from their peers and tap into those who have ‘been there, done that’.

More women-focused networking events and clubs have cropped up in recent years. One such is AllBright, which has a women’s members’ club in central London. Female leaders are also finding one another online, through Facebook groups, Instagram and other platforms.

5 Juggling childcare and growing a business

One reason that a woman may be less likely to start a business is because she is usually a family’s primary caregiver. Of the 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK, 58pc – that is, 3.34 million – are women, according to census data. Juggling a demanding leadership role alongside childcare can be complex, emotionally fraught and extremely costly.

The women who manage to combine motherhood and entrepreneurship have become increasingly valuable to the UK economy. A report from economic think tank Development Economics, commissioned by eBay, found that the “mum economy” generates £7.2bn for the UK and supports 204,000 jobs. By 2025, these numbers are predicted to rise to £9.5bn and 217,600 jobs.

What barriers have you come across.?


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