November 7, 2011
Frontline Events MD, Gillian O’Brien, takes a look at the contribution female entrepreneurs such as herself have pumped into the U.K economy and what it would mean if the women of the U.K followed in the same footsteps as the women of the U.S.
In the UK, female entrepreneurs collectively produce a massive £130billion turnover which works out as an added gross value of £70billion to the economy. As impressive as those figures are, the latest figures from the Federation of Small Businesses show that though women make up 46% of the UK’s workforce, they only make up 29% of all self-employed people leaving the men racing ahead in the entrepreneurial world. As a member of the FSB Gillian commented “it’s a shame to see that any networking meetings I go to with other business owners the room is mostly dominated by men. There are so many hardworking and creative women out there, more of us just need to find the confidence and the resources to allow us to take hold of opportunities presented to us”. The government are currently looking at ways to increase the amount of female entrepreneurs by introducing new schemes to make training and support more accessible, and coming up with new finance options.
In a recent report released in the U.S by American Express OPEN State of Women-Owned Business, they found that there was an increase of 34% in businesses that had been opened. The figures also show that while there was only a 25% increase in men opening a firm, the amount of women opening up had increased by 50%! There are a number of suggestions as to why this has happened. One of the main suggestions is that when the recession hit, it was primarily in sectors that are known to be dominated by male workers that were hit the hardest, such as the construction industry and the manufacturing industry; where as sectors that were primarily dominated by female workers, like healthcare and education still had vacancies to fill. A term used in the U.S for this is known as the ‘Man-cession’. With the drop in men working, women are thought to have stepped up to the mark to increase the household income. Another theory is that with the cost of living reaching a new high, people need a dual-income to support their families leaving women to get creative with their skills and make the most out of the recession. With not being able to find their dream job they have gone out and created it and in doing so, made opportunities for other people to get back into work.
In the U.K women make up 51% of the population and in the U.S they make up 50.8% which is a very close match, this hopefully means the percentages can definitely be increased in female entrepreneurs in the U.K. Gillian O’Brien said: “In the U.S. the mentality is very different than the UK and Ireland. Society is more accepting of people who chose to take risks and enter the entrepreneurial world, whereas people here are more sceptical. As we tend to copy a lot of other trends from the US it would be great if we copied this mentality here aswell“ . And there is no reason why not! Overall, females are doing better than males in education, they are being more creative in the business world on the whole, and with support from the government just around the corner, it is only a matter of time before the U.K catch up with the U.S and the amount of female entrepreneurs is equal to that of men!