Women entrepreneurs remain positive


More than a third of women entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom are projecting positive revenue growth this year, according to figures from Deloitte.

Deloitte’s Entrepreneurship UK: 2009/10 report found that 36.7 per cent of women entrepreneurs are forecasting up to 10 per cent revenue growth in 2009/10.

Although the majority of women entrepreneurs polled remained cautious in their outlook, 6.7 per cent said they expect in excess of 50 per cent growth for their businesses this year, and a total of 32.3 per cent anticipate growth of between 50 and 200 per cent over the next three years.
In contrast, men appear to be more bullish in their outlook for the year ahead, with 14 per cent predicting more than 50 per cent growth, while at the other extreme, only nine per cent are estimating less than 10 per cent growth. 
Confidence for the long-term is 12 per cent higher amongst men, with 42.3 per cent expecting growth of between 50 and 200 per cent over the next three years.
Yvette Allen, associate partner at Deloitte in Cambridge, organised a Women’s Network event to discuss topics such as maintaining trust and credibility in recessionary times and how to rebuild confidence in a challenging market.
She said: “Expectations amongst women entrepreneurs are relatively guarded at this point, a sentiment that is only heightened when compared with the confidence displayed in their male counterparts.
“Although their outlook may seem conservative in comparison, growth remains a key theme for many female led organisations.
“One would hope that as the wider economy stabilises, a more bullish stance will emerge.”
According to the Deloitte survey, 25.9 per cent of women entrepreneurs expect economic recovery to begin in the first half of 2010.
Sureya Landini, founder of Blue Donkey, a Cambridge based telemarketing company, said that she was expecting a slow recovery.
“Business has been sluggish during the last 12 months, down by about 30 per cent, if not more at times,” she said.
“Blue Donkey is an ‘intelligent telemarketing company’, which means we make business to business phone calls on behalf of other companies.
“Our service is vital in the kind of marketplace that relies on new business or good relationships but while most clients have continued their activities with us, many have reduced their commitment, sometimes as result of a reduction in the size of the teams who would have dealt with the business we generated.
“As the recession continues many of the companies we would like to work with are eating into their reserves and some are worried about the sustainability of this if the recovery is too protracted.”
Ms Landini, who attended Deloitte’s Women’s Network event, said she felt there were some differences between the attitudes of male and female entrepreneurs.
“Women are far less inclined to overextend and speculate,” she said.
“We tend to be more near sighted in terms of the effects our business can have on the people around us.
“Whilst this may mean women have fewer huge success stories, as these are usually the result of taking equally huge risks, it also means we approach things with more caution.
“I am expecting a slow recovery but I’m optimistic that as recovery begins there will be some impetus for organisations to start reinvesting in growth strategies.”

The Deloitte Cambridge office comprises 8 Partners and over 250 staff who deliver a full range of professional services to the East Anglian region. As well as focussing on the life sciences and technology sectors for which the region has become so renowned, the office has long standing specialisms in other sectors including the professions, consumer business, food and agribusiness.

Deloitte LLP