Women Much Less Likely to Start a Business than Men

Sep 21, 2018


By Esmée Hardwick-Slack



A study conducted by NatWest has shown that 16% of men and only 12% of women say they would want to start their own business. The study shows that the vast majority of females say that they are discouraged from starting their own business due to the fear of failure and a lack of inspiring female role models in business.

More than 1,000 businesses are started daily in Britain and small and medium size (SME) businesses support more than 16 million jobs. However, only 19% of these SME employers were majority-led by women, defined as controlled by a single woman, or having a majority female management team.

These findings echo that of a previous study by NatWest showing that businesses set up by women contributed £3.5bn to the UK economy and created 77,000 jobs in 2015, but the proportion of women starting a business was below 5%.

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, has stated: “The fact that Britain is home to so many new, innovative businesses is something to be proud of. But the fact that so few of them are started by women is shocking. This is not because of a lack of talent or appetite.”

A survey led by Unilever Foundry found a number of barriers are stopping women becoming entrepreneurs. Women are still not being encouraged to enter roles outside the stereotypical norms associated with their gender, and there is a serious lack of information targeted at women’s specific circumstances. It was also revealed that women who have started companies often encounter discrimination from investors due to their gender.


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