The rise of the female entrepreneur
- By Sarah Dening -
- Aug 14, 2012
According to a new study, the percentage of small businesses run by women in the UK has risen 10 percent since 2008 to 30.22 percent. This reflects the large increase in the number of women starting their own businesses in the face of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Today's guest blog looks at the reasons behind this current trend...
So, are these women motivated by the need to provide for themselves, or is it simply that the lack of stable jobs has pushed these women to be braver than they dared hope they could be?
I have often wondered how many of my work colleagues from the 1990s are still working in the city. Working in a law firm in London was hard, mixed with lots of social functions and overtime. I knew even then, in my early twenties, that I did not want to continue this lifestyle long term.
Some of my colleagues still live this life, some as single ladies, and others with nannies to assist their hectic schedules. A few others, such as myself, have found the answer elsewhere – to work for ourselves…
I recently celebrated the two year anniversary of my own small business – Shop On Your Doorstep. My virtual department store is an online business enabling me to also enjoy my family life in Kent (I am married with four children). I am more than able to combine the school run with the needs of my business. In 2 years I have won a handful of business awards - the most recent being Best Online Retailer (Bronze) as voted for by the public, and awarded by Loved By Parents. The Gold winner was Ocado – and therefore I was thrilled to compete at this level.
I am writing this article whilst on a (Virgin) train to Manchester – combining a visit to potential suppliers with a concert with my sister (Roxette, should you be interested).
I am not alone – I am aware of many personal friends (and other women-led businesses which I have discovered through twitter or online groups such as Mums Club and FEA) who also manage to combine sports day with the odd radio interview (BBC Radio Kent in my case).
I believe that the recession has driven these women to focus hard and discover the business person they always hoped they could be. From online retailers (such as myself), to outsourced secretaries, PR ladies and creative craft types, I think that the end result will be a more diverse UK business ethos - and a more self-sufficient one at that.
When I ask my children what they would like to be, they reply “designer, footballer or businessman, artist and pirate”. (The youngest has just turned 3).
My point is that all of my children believe they are able create their own opportunities – and their own income. Perhaps in 5 years time the percentage of women with their own business will have increased further – I, for one, certainly hope so.
Source: XLN Business Services conducted a survey and looked at the gender of the business owner behind more than 100,000 XLN small business telephone and card processing customers across the UK.
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