Women are still under-represented in the UK in terms of business. Today’s women are seeking business support and advice for starting a new venture. Most women are also trying to balance work-life. The number of female entrepreneurs has increased significantly over the last decade. They are able to overcome societal discrimination and gender bias by becoming successful entrepreneurs.
There are 3 types of gains that female entrepreneurs enjoy: personal freedom, security and satisfaction. Professional growth, development, challenge and self-fulfilment motivate women to become female entrepreneurs unlike men who embody entrepreneurship for higher income.
- Those who seek the freedom to choose their work and free themselves from an unsatisfied employment become female entrepreneurs.
- Those who want to improve their economic status also become female entrepreneurs as business offers a maximum gain in wealth.
- There are housewives who want to utilize their skill and become productive female entrepreneurs.
Skills of women entrepreneurs:
- Risk taking ability
- Possess an internal locus of control
- Tolerate ambiguity
- Determination to succeed
- Create a collaborative and empowered team atmosphere
- Believe in decentralized decision making
- Loyal and strong networking ability
Barriers Faced By Women Entrepreneurs
Female entrepreneurs face many barriers especially when starting a new venture or aiming for further growth.
- Raising capital is the primary barrier that female entrepreneurs face since ages. Start up financing, credit and cash flow management in the early stages of business are the biggest obstacles. Most funding is usually through family loans, personal savings, credit cards and home equity loans. Today, corporate investors, venture capitalists, angel investors, grants by the government assist female entrepreneurs in raising funds. This barrier is tough but not insurmountable.
- Lack of support network is another prominent barrier that female entrepreneurs must overcome. Their firms struggle against a male-dominated working environment. It becomes imperative for women to create their own sub-networks that will be advantageous in a gender-biased community. Their ability to build strong and resilient relationships will help grow and maintain these networks.
- Lack of access to education is another barrier for female entrepreneurs. Focussed training programmes may help overcome this problem.
- Low self-esteem and perception
- Cultural and structural barriers that female entrepreneurs face are:
- Women making large amounts of money is associated with immoral behaviour
- Traditional views on women’s role
- Assertiveness and ambition among women is discouraged
- Women are not financially independent
- Lack of marketing skills and lack of time that can be allocated to business are strong difficulties to overcome
Suggestions To Improve Women Entrepreneurship
- Training in vocational and business skills could empower female entrepreneurs
- Focus on personal empowerment skills
- Innovative participatory approaches to education, information and problem solving rather than conventional methods
- Creating a favourable climate for female entrepreneurs by initiating macro economic policies
- Special funding schemes that help them in raising capital
Funding And Support For Women Entrepreneurs In UK
Formulate a comprehensive and thorough business plan. Consider the following finance options for raising capital
- Loans from friends and family who motivate women entrepreneurs
- Community Development Finance Initiatives (CDFIs) offer loans to women entrepreneurs for businesses with viable propositions.
- Banks offer Small Firms Loan Guarantee Facility against surety. They have a deferred repayment bank loan called Professional and Career Development Loan for women entrepreneurs who want training in career or business.
- Angel Investors or Mentors may be willing to invest. The British Angel Investors Association can guide you further. Women make a meagre 8% of UK’s business angels but there are schemes now to minimize this disparity.
- For women entrepreneurs with business ideas that require heavy investment, approach venture capitalists like Venture Giant who will be willing to offer funding for a large stake in the business. They also bring them a wealth of experience that can help you grow quickly
- Centa Business Services offer impartial advice and support to women ntrepreneurs. Their services include from securing finance, mentoring and training. They have helped raise £2 million for SMEs initiated by women.
- The Women’s Business Centre is an award winning organization that offers training and support to women entrepreneurs in a supportive and inspirational environment.
- ‘Every Woman’ is a leading provider of training, resources and support services to women entrepreneurs. They provide funding under Skills Funding Agency and European Social Funding Provider schemes after appropriate assessment and accreditation of the venture. They have grants up to £1000 for small business entrepreneurs and a flexible training grant.
- Government has initiated many grants and funding schemes that are not gender biased and are available on submission of a sound business plan. The grant eligibility depends on the product, location and size of the business. These grants include
- Grant for Business Investment (GBI)
- Research and Development Grants
- Shared Knowledge
- Training Skills
- Business Solution Grants
Women Entrepreneurs In UK
There is an increase in women entrepreneurs starting their own business ventures. The glass ceiling still persists with an equal opportunity for them on board in equal number is yet to be achieved. London has always boasted of a high number of women entrepreneurs starting their own ventures. The British Government is considering and initiating support for women entrepreneurship in UK. Some women have become successful and famous entrepreneurs in UK. They are a true inspiration factor to the aspiring women entrepreneurs of UK.
J K Rowling
She is a famous British author who penned the Harry Potter series. She has sold more than 460 million copies. Her net worth is at £1 billion. She is a noted philanthropist and a powerful celebrity.
Dame Anita Roddick
Founder of ‘The Body Shop’, she is an avid human rights activist and environmental campaigner. Her cosmetics company shaped ethical consumerism in UK.
Top young women entrepreneurs in UK
She is a British born Ghanaian award winning women entrepreneur. Her ventures include fashion and media. Her clothing label specializes in women’s wear with clients like Jennifer Lopez and Angelique Richard.
She is just 24 years old and founder of Newspepper and Techfluff. She is a leading women entrepreneur of UK specialized in the media sector.