Report calls for greater backing for women running companies

A new report prepared by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) aims to shed light on the specific issues facing enterprises set up by women.

The document suggests that in many cases these businesses are confronted with similar challenges as firms generally, with cash flow problems and the struggle of getting access to finance cited as common obstacles.

That said, the survey of around 1,900 women did identify some problems which seemed to have a great bearing than normal – these included difficulties balancing work and family life and in achieving credibility for their enterprise.

The FSB argues that the Government should be looking to improve the support available and develop new mentoring networks to help this burgeoning group of business ventures.

Helen Walbey, the FSB’s head of diversity policy, said: “Women-led smaller businesses already contribute over £75 billion to the UK economy. But less than one in five (18 per cent) of businesses are majority run by women.

“If women were to set up businesses and grow them at the same rate as men, we would see a huge boost to growth and prosperity in this country. In fact, the Government estimates it could add £600 billion to the economy.

“Everyone should have the same chance to succeed in business. Understanding the importance of diversity and getting more women into business is critical for a dynamic and vibrant small business sector. That’s why we need to work out what the barriers are for women and break them down one by one.”

In an attempt to take a lead on the issue, the FSB has agreed to establish a dedicated “Women in Enterprise” taskforce to support female entrepreneurs and company owners.

Caroline Dinenage, the Minister for Women, Equalities and Family Justice, said: “Every woman who runs their own business should be celebrated and supported – they contribute a huge amount to our economy and are role models to future generations.

“We have a lot to be proud of – Britain is ranked one of the top three places in the world for female entrepreneurs and we have over one million female led small to medium businesses.”