Women entrepreneurs set a cracking pace


25-01-2001

Women entrepreneurs are now responsible for a third of all business start-ups, an increase of more than 22 per cent during the past four years.

The findings come from Barclays, whose Women in Business report reveals that many women are 'performing a remarkable juggling act in managing work and family commitments'.



The report also reveals that men think women are better with people, and have a better image when it comes to starting a business.



Commenting on the report, Patricia Hewitt, minister for small business, said: 'It shows the very real progress women are making in business and the tremendous contribution they are already making to the economy.'



However, discrimination is still around, with not being taken seriously a big issue.



But Niccola Swan, director of equality and diversity at Barclays, said: 'The number of women entrepreneurs is now increasing significantly and our research reveals that they are often more adventurous than men when starting their own business.



'While most men stay firmly within their comfort zone, some 45 per cent of women choose to start up in a line of work completely different to what they have done before.'



But growth in the number of 'new men' is slow, the report continues, and women's time is at a premium as they try to arrange childcare, running the home and their new business.



Ms Swan added: 'Many of the women we spoke to said that the skills they have acquired in managing their family and home have also really helped their business.



'They said that they were better organised and able to juggle responsibilities and tasks much more readily than men.



'The great news is that the majority of women and men feel that running a business has either increased the quality of their family life or had no detrimental effect.'



Dinah Bennett, programme director of the Foundation for SME development at Durham University and an expert on women's issues, said: 'Overall the research is positive and indicates that women are setting up businesses and making a success of it.



'However, there is no room for complacency as women still face some unique barriers. In addition, their domestic responsibilities cannot be underestimated.'



If you want to read more, try http://www.smallbusiness.barclays.co.uk