A recent report has suggested that the UK is one of the worst countries for encouraging female entrepreneurs. The report stated that when it comes to successful businesswomen, the UK had one of the lowest figures, highlighting the UK’s need to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs.
On average, almost double the amount of men start businesses in comparison to women, with numerous reasons given for this imbalance. According to the Business is Great campaign, the UK would have an extra one million entrepreneurs, if as many women were setting up businesses as men.
But, it is often stated than women face far more obstacles than men when it comes to starting a business. Common obstacles include: lack of female mentors, less funding and perceptual bias. In order to rectify the gender gap situation, more women are being urged to enter the field and a range of initiatives have been launched to help remove some of the barriers to entry.
Useful Websites For Female Entrepreneurs
As mentioned, lack of female mentors is one of the biggest obstacles women face, but many successful businesswomen have accredited a range of mentoring, support, advice and networking websites to their businesses success. Here we take a look at some of these new websites helping women into entrepreneurship.
In a nutshell, MentorsMe connects businesswomen with a supportive mentor. Having a mentor can help ensure a business succeeds, as a good mentor can help entrepreneurs avoid mistakes and grow their business faster. MentorsMe is a particular favourite amongst female entrepreneurs as it was the first of its kind. It predominantly helps small and medium sized business owners, is free, easy to use and allows entrepreneurs to find a mentor based on location or stage of business.
Talented Ladies Club
Talented Ladies Club aims to inspire women to find flexible roles, launch freelance careers or start and grow a business. The founders behind the site wanted to show that women do not have to choose between having a career or family and are there to help those women that want both.
This site has a dedicated section for female entrepreneurs filled with enterprising resources. Great Business recognise that there is a lot to be gained from having more female entrepreneurs and are there to help female led businesses succeed.
Each website can offer female entrepreneurs with a range of different benefits. So, for those that are serious about starting a business, check out all of the websites mentioned above for maximum support.
For many women, another common barrier is start up capital. But, with the government being so keen to gain a larger number of female entrepreneurs and with lots of crowdfunding sites out there, it has never been easier to gain financial help.
Most grants or financial support that are available within the UK are open to both male and female entrepreneurs, only a very small amount are gender specific. In this part of the article we look at some of the more popular funding choices female entrepreneurs choose.
Grant For Business Investment
Grant for Business Investment or GBI is the most basic type of grant that will help entrepreneurs buy tools, machinery or equipment in order to get their business off the ground. Different regions have different names for the grant and each locations grant has a different set of restrictions and rules.
Research and Development Grant
Another popular grant is a Research and Development Grant. These are perfect for those entrepreneurs that are looking to produce an innovative product that has the potential to benefit society.
£1million Challenge Fund
A female only grant that is currently available that women can also consider is the £1million challenge fund. This has been created by the Government’s Superfast Broadband Rollout and was announced by Minister for Women Nicky Morgan. The fund has been set up to help women grow their businesses online.
An incredibly popular and less traditional way of gaining financial support is through one of the many crowdfunding sites out there. Indiegogo, Go Fund Me and Kickstarter are three of the more popular sites to look into.
A less common but viable way of receiving financial help is through academic institutions. By working together, businesses and scholars can use their shared knowledge in order to further research and development projects.
Childcare is often another common issue stopping female entrepreneurs, so in order to combat this the government now offer a number of childcare incentives. Currently in the UK, free childcare is offered for children aged between three and four years old. Parents can qualify for around fifteen hours a week free childcare and in some instances, children as young as two qualify. This incentive is making it easier for mothers to either return to work or start their own business.
Work From Home
Many mothers or ‘Mompreneurs’ are also choosing start their businesses at home instead of in a more traditional office environment. This means they are able to work around their current commitments, as well as lowering their initial overhead costs.
Finally, for those women that are still interested in taking the plunge, we also wanted to share some of the best business advice out there for budding entrepreneurs from some of the most success female businesswomen.
Annabel Karmel MBE is well known for her children’s books and food. Annabel has made it very clear that starting a business won’t be easy and she regularly explains that she works all hours of the day and night to ensure her business continues to be successful. Those interested in following Annabel’s footsteps need to be willing to put the hours in.
For CEO of Ann Summers, Jacqueline Gold MBE networking is key. She has stressed the importance of making connections and has been actively encouraging women to network more, especially in the early days of their business.
Founder of Ultimo, Michelle Mone has also been a key advocate of female entrepreneurs and has explained that having a business mentor is invaluable. Many people may assume that because you’re an entrepreneur you know everything when in fact it is a lifelong learning journey. Having someone that you can turn to when you don’t know the answer can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful business.
What Are You Waiting For?
Even though there is plenty more to be done when it comes to encouraging female entrepreneurs, barriers are being removed.
Females have a huge role to play in business as well as society and we hope this article inspires more people to take the plunge.
If you think you have the same drive, passion, desire and work ethic as Annabel Karmel, Jacqueline Gold and Michelle Mone, then why not experience their success?
Being a successful entrepreneur will take a lot of hard work but, the rewards can be out of this world.