More women than ever are pursuing self-employment and starting small businesses, according to new analysis.
In a review of over 550,000 small business owners, freelancers and the self-employed, new data reveals that while the majority of small businesses are founded by men, the number of female owners are rising at a faster rate, at 59% versus 51% – almost a 10% difference.
The analysis by one of the UK’s largest small business insurance providers, Simply Business, also revealed that from 2018-2022 there has been a striking increase in female-owned SMEs, rising 59% overall over the four year period.
A separate recent study by Simply Business also showed that 96% of female entrepreneurs would recommend starting a business to other women, and 92% remain confident about the next 12 months of their company.
But challenges still remain. One in three (32%) female entrepreneurs have experienced sexism as a business owner, while one in five (19%) have also experienced gender inequality and unequal access to opportunities.
Overall, a staggering 91% of female entrepreneurs say gender bias and inequality is prevalent in business, with a third (33%) describing it as ‘widespread’ or ‘severe’.
To better support female business owners, over a third (38%) called for more one-to-one mentorship from a business expert, alongside support and advice with funding (37%).
As part of its Empowering Women in Business initiative, Simply Business has partnered with renowned business executive and The Apprentice star, Baroness Karren Brady CBE to offer an exclusive one-on-one mentoring session for female entrepreneurs.
Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, said, “The Empowering Women in Business campaign honors and celebrates female entrepreneurship. It’s inspiring to see more women than ever before deciding to start a small business – whether it’s turning a hobby into a career or leveraging years of professional experience to go it alone.
“Small businesses are critical to the UK economy, contributing trillions of pounds a year in turnover. They will be key to the UK’s recovery from the pandemic, and women business owners are increasingly leading from the front. We’re seeing a faster rate of growth for female-owned small businesses than for male-owned equivalents, and we expect this trend to continue into 2022 and beyond.”