UK & Ireland
April 25, 2016


The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has launched a new report ‘Women in Enterprise: The Untapped Potential’. The report explores the specific challenges faced by women-led businesses and makes recommendations for improving support, developing mentoring networks, and increasing the diversity of business ambassadors. The key recommendations mentioned in the report include:

  • Development of a framework for women’s enterprise
  • Improving access to finance
  • Improved data collection on business ownership
  • Raising awareness of support
  • Increasing the visibility of role models for women business owners
  • Equalising maternity pay

Today, only one in five UK small businesses are majority woman-owned and contribute over £75 billion to the UK economy. If women set up businesses at the same rate as men, there would be a significant boost to economic growth in the UK.

While the report finds women-led businesses face many of the same challenges all small firms encounter – including cash flow issues (42%), and difficulty accessing finance (25%), it shows there are still specific and persistent barriers for too many women when setting up and growing their own businesses, included balancing work and family life (40%), achieving credibility for the business (37%) and a lack of confidence (22%).

The report calls for a cultural shift towards equality in business. To further the recommendations of the report, FSB plans to launch a dedicated ‘Women in Enterprise Taskforce’ to support woman entrepreneurs and business owners. The new taskforce will develop a series of regional events, networking opportunities and work with existing regional networks to get to the root of the problem.

Small firms already make a huge contribution to our economy; if we were to harness the still largely untapped potential of women entrepreneurship, it could lead to additional jobs, economic growth and a more diverse and representative small business community.