Women’s Enterprise Day urges women to take the entrepreneurial plunge

14 November 2007
According to organisers of Women’s Enterprise Day, men are twice as likely to set up a business as women in the UK, while a report for Prowess by Dr Rebecca Harding claims women’s self-employment accounts for just 27 per cent of all self-employment.

Prowess reports that there are 1,013,000 self-employed women (7.6 per cent of women in employment) and 2,706,000 self-employed men (17.4 per cent of men in employment) in the UK.

Business sustainability also appears to be a problem for women. Prowess indicates that while start-up activity is at 44 per cent of the rate of male activity, female business ownership of entities established for longer than 42 months is just 33 per cent of the rate of male established business ownership.

The rate at which women move from employment to self-employment has increased in most sectors apart from finance and education, according to the report. It also reveals that the gap between male and female entrepreneurial activity is much narrower for social entrepreneurship than it is for mainstream entrepreneurship.

However, the Financial Times reports that there are now a record number of female directors at the UK’s largest businesses. It states that one in five new appointments to FTSE 100 boards in 2006 were women. These include Genevieve Berger at Unilever, Susan Rice at Scottish and Southern Energy, Deborah Lathen at BT and Mary Harris at J. Sainsbury.

According to research by everywoman and Natwest, celebrity entrepreneurs are inspiring women to start up businesses. Some of the best known include Anita Roddick, JK Rowling, Victoria Beckham and Jordan. The survey found that 86 per cent of participants believe celebrity entrepreneurs play a positive role in encouraging women to start their own business, particularly for under 25s.

And business is not the only sector to attract women. Reports indicate that more women than men were ordained as clergy in the Church of England last year.

Women’s Enterprise Day aims to inspire young women to develop entrepreneurial skills and to inform them of the business opportunities available to them so that women’s earnings can equal men’s and so they can reach the same levels of seniority.

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