Why aren’t more female entrepreneurs scaling up?


We know that more and more women are choosing careers in entrepreneurship. So why aren’t there more high-growth, female-owned companies, asks our programmes director Annabel Denham in today’s Huffington Post.

While the number of female entrepreneurs increased by 9.6 per cent in the two years to 2013, compared with a 3.3 per cent rise for men (according to the Office for National Statistics), data also show that women-led businesses are not scaling up at a rate even close to male-led companies.

Research has also shown that the main challenges confronting growth in women-owned businesses relate to a combination of access to finance, fear of failure and lower perception of opportunity. But it is that fact that women are much less likely to use private equity or venture capital, and are more likely to be discouraged from borrowing, that is particularly worrisome.

Speaking to Blackbullion founder and member of The Entrepreneurs Network Vivi Friedgut, the author concludes that:

“The government could help. It is positive that coding has already been added to the curriculum for every five year old – but we need more girls to be inspired and encouraged to study and build careers in the science, tech, engineering and maths (STEM) sectors. We need more campaigns like WISE, which aims to get 1 million more women into the UK STEM workforce. And we need the government to work more closely with schools and universities to promote these subjects.

Female entrepreneurs are a huge untapped resource. “There’s a gap in the market that will be filled by women,” says Friedgut. And angels and VCs will capitalise on that. It’s just a matter of time.”

The Huffington Post column can be read in full here.