Female of the species more ambitious than the male

Female entrepreneurs are now more confident than their male counterparts about their companies' prospects...

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Some interesting news to mark Women’ Enterprise Day on Wednesday: female entrepreneurs are now the most confident about their ability to flourish in the current climate. A survey by NatWest and support services provider Everywoman has revealed that 88% are predicting business growth over the next five years, compared to 74% of men. And with over 600,000 majority-owned female-owned businesses in the UK, that would be quite a shot in the arm for our ailing economy…

In fact, NatWest and Everywoman have tried to quantify just what this might be worth to us. The average female-owned business apparently has a turnover of £200,000 – so if just 40% of these companies manage to boost turnover by 25% (to £250,000), that would add an extra £12bn to UK GDP. A slightly arbitrary calculation, perhaps, but it shows just how substantial the sums involved could be.

It also shows the growing confidence of female entrepreneurs – as we’re constantly told these days, this is a tough climate to run a small business, but they seem unbowed in the face of some pretty fierce economic headwinds. Everywoman co-founder Karen Gill suggested this was ‘testament to the progress we have made as a sector in such a short space of time’. Apparently healthcare entrepreneurs are the most gung-ho, with at least half predicting 25% growth in the next five years, closely followed (more surprisingly) by those in the marketing/ media industry.

The only fly in the ointment is that women are still less confident about their financial knowledge: 53% said they didn’t understand the range of products available to them, compared with just over a quarter of male entrepreneurs. We’re sure there’s an element of machismo in this disparity: women are probably more likely to admit their ignorance than men, particularly in an area like this. But it does at least suggest that banks need to do a better job of explaining the options to their female clients.

NatWest points to its own Women in Business service, which it says has so far attracted 18,000 female-owned business clients. But it’s clear that more needs to be done – as Gill says: ‘In this current economic climate, it is imperative these business owners have access to the advice and information necessary to maximise their business skills.’ In other words, even these super-confident female entrepreneurs need help to get anywhere near this £12bn growth…

P.S. In the December issue of MT, we ask the question: would we be in the current mess if women ran the City? Some people don’t think so. Keep an eye out for it next month...

In today's bulletin:
Everything must go at Marks & Spencer
Woolworths shares suspended ahead of knock-down sale
Female of the species more ambitious than the male
MT's Little Ray of Sunshine: Time off in loo of work
Competition: Win two FREE business class flights with bmi

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Mike Ashley: Does it matter if the public hates you right now?

The Sports Direct founder’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn criticism, but in the...

4 films to keep you sane during the coronavirus lockdown

Cirrus CEO Simon Hayward shares some choices to put things in perspective.

Pandemic ends public love affair with Richard Branson et al

Opinion: The larger-than-life corporate mavericks who rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s suddenly...

The Squiggly Career: How to be a chief strengths spotter

When leading remotely, it's more important than ever to make sure your people spend their...

"Blind CVs don't improve your access to talent"

Opinion: If you want to hire socially mobile go-getters, you need to know the context...

The highs and lows of being a super-achiever

Pay it Forward podcast: techUK boss Jacqueline de Rojas and Google UK's marketing strategy and...