The percentage of small businesses that are run by women in the UK has risen sharply from 20 per cent to just over 30 per cent since 2008, according to a new study. This represents a large increase in the number of women starting their own businesses or taking on the running of existing enterprises in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The research was conducted by telephone service providers XLN Business Services who looked at the gender of the business owner behind more than 100,000 of their customers.
They believe that the timing of the rise suggests redundancies and the difficulty of getting the right job during the recession may be giving women the drive they need to start up a business for themselves. The possibility of flexible working conditions are also a big pull for women, as they can work from home, put together their own schedule and, if mothers, fit work around childcare duties.
Another reason, they claim, may be the types of businesses that women start. With a large percentage of homes in the UK having access to the internet, and little or no start-up costs, setting up a business from home has never been easier. This gives an advantage to women wanting to start out as accountants, web designers, mobile hairdressers and beauticians compared with traditionally male dominated areas that require expensive premises – manufacturers, mechanics, etc.
New support and advice may also be accountable for this increase in female business owners. Business Secretary Vince Cable has stated that the Government has 20 advisers for SMEs and three quarters of those are women. Furthermore, websites and women in business groups have sprung up all over the internet to give mentoring and advice to women on issues regarding the start-up of a business.
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