Offer female entrepreneurs more support to grow their businesses, new report says

Findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Entrepreneurship were backed by Liverpool-based The Women’s Organisation, which contributed to its its study. Tony McDonough reports

Lisa McMullan
Lisa McMullan, director for development and consultancy at The Women’s Organisation

 

There is too little support for female entrepreneurs looking to grow or scale-up their businesses, a new report claims today.

And the findings of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Entrepreneurship were backed by Liverpool-based The Women’s Organisation, which contributed to its its study.

The APPG for Entrepreneurship Women in Leadership report reveals that while more women than ever are starting businesses, many are not progressing to the next level in terms of turnover.

It found only 10% of growing companies in the UK with annual revenues of between £1m and £250m were run by women.

Lisa McMullan, director for development and consultancy at The Women’s Organisation, said: “Women are still a hugely untapped entrepreneurial market within the UK economy. It’s about time that we recognise that female entrepreneurship is not only a gender issue, but an economic one too.”

women, business
Only 10% of UK firms with revenues of between £1m and £250m are run by women

 

A number of Parliamentarians sit on the APPG for Entrepreneurship and they have put forward a number of recommendations they believe could increase female representation in mid-level businesses and diversify and boost the economy. They are:

  • Improve the available data on business ownership, particularly in terms of gender diversity. This would help provide policymakers with a stronger
  • evidence base on women’s entrepreneurship.
  • Government should work more closely with schools and universities to assess drop-off rates for people studying STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics). There is already a shortage of girls and women studying STEM subjects.
  • Change rules on maternity pay by removing current restrictions on women receiving
  • Maternity Allowance; extend Small Employers’ Relief on Statutory Maternity Pay; and offer Paternity Allowance to male entrepreneurs to ensure a re-examination of gender roles.
  • Lower the cost of childcare which is currently three times
  • the cost it is in France and Germany.
  • Open up doors to Parliament and Number 10 to female entrepreneurs to formally validate the efforts of female entrepreneurs.
  • Address Local Enterprise Partnerships’ current levels of inconsistent or insufficient engagement with diversity.

Ms McMullan added: “The findings from the APPG for Entrepreneurship Women in Leadership report confirm what we, at The Women’s Organisation, have known for so long now.

“While there has been marked progress in the number of women starting businesses, the same simply cannot be said for women growing businesses.

“If the UK economy is to prosper on a global scale following Brexit, it is critical that the Government addresses the current barriers and obstacles faced by female entrepreneurs when scaling their business.

“This means ensuring that women-led businesses are equipped with finance, resources and networks to grow sustainably. What is more, we need the invisible female-founders to step into the spotlight and become the role models and inspiration for others to join them.”

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