If you’re a regular visitor to our pages, you’re probably no stranger to our stance on the importance of female businesspeople for the economic future of our country. Ensuring our boardrooms have a balanced representation of the genders is clearly one of the most important factors in guaranteeing there is a true diversity of ideas and approaches being applied to UK plc. Whilst the corporate world is unfortunately still falling short, it seems the entrepreneurial community could go some way toward picking up the slack.
In Inspiring Female Entrepreneurs, its second report in an ongoing series on entrepreneurial practices, the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development (CIPD) cites figures from the Women’s Business Council – the policy advisory group aimed at maximising women’s contribution to future economic growth – showing that there are 2.4 million unemployed women who want to work. The report also notes that if this entrepreneurial powerhouse was utilised to the extent that the number of female entrepreneurs matched the number of males, it could boost our GDP around 10% by 2030.
Eager to find our what motivates those women who’ve gone into business for themselves and what has helped them secure success, the CIPD interviewed a selection of high profile female entrepreneurs to find out what factors they had in common.
The female business-owners they focused on tended to:
- Be more motivated by a sense of purpose than mere wealth-generation
- Grow incrementally and sustainably, preferring to avoid debt and focus on self-financing
- Adopt a personal method of marketing and relationship management, concentrating on maintaining a positive reputation and brand image
- Show strong self-awareness and business acumen, being able to recognise opportunities and identify the best time to bring in new expertise
The CIPD’s report also identified that the key drivers encouraging women to set up on their own were the need for a better work-life balance and flexible working, evidently something still lacking in senior positions within the wider business community. However, it’s still not a bed of roses for female entrepreneurs going it alone; many spoken to felt more women would be motivated to start-up their own businesses if they had access to a business advice portal, giving guidance on financial planning, franchising and training.
Dianah Worman, public policy adviser at CIPD, commented: “It’s clear from our research that women have a lot to offer to the economy – be it by starting up their own businesses or by letting their entrepreneurial flair and business savvy shine in the corporate world. Employers need to act out of self interest to broaden the pools of talent available to them and ensure they do not lose out on the skills, energy and passion women can bring to their workplaces if they were allowed to work more autonomously and flexibly.”
Clearly then, there is a huge benefit to making use of the entrepreneurial spark the nation’s women can bring to the table. And whether it’s offering the tools they need to start-up on their own or adding the flexibility that will help get them into the boardroom, it’s evident it’s worth us doing everything we can to make use of such a valuable resource.