It’s time for women to take the risk

A survey by NatWest showed that in 2015 126,000 businesses were created by women – a huge leap from the 58,000 created in 2006 – but down from the 139,000 in 2013. In 2015 businesses set up by women contributed £3.5bn to the UK economy and created 77,000 jobs.

However the  proportion of the UK’s female working population starting a business was below 5 per cent, placing Britain behind countries like Canada, the US and the Netherlands.

Sixteen per cent of men say that they want to start their own business compared to 12 per cent of women.   So why are women so reluctant to become entrepreneurs?

One of the biggest factors appears to be risk.  A total of 58 per cent of women cited a fear of failure as the reason they were not launching their own company, compared to 50 per cent of men.   A lack of role models is also a factor. In the survey over two thirds of women said they would be more encouraged to take the first step if they had inspiring female role models.

Although controversial it is also believed that another reason is that women are typically more patient than men. Consequently, women tend to tolerate incompetent, abusive, and bullish bosses for a longer time, instead of quitting their jobs to launch a business.

Although women seem reluctant participants a 2016 BNP Paribas Global Entrepreneur Report showed that women entrepreneurs outperform their male counterparts in many ways.  The success of women entrepreneurs has been attributed to a number of factors including being more ambitious, taking a longer-term view of things, not being over-confident and calculating risk better.  Simply put women achieve success even if they face more obstacles than men.   

As for my role models, there are many but I have a favourite quote from Natalie Clifford Barney, “Entrepreneurship is the last refuge of the troublemaking individual.”