According to a study published recently by Aston University, an increase in the number of women entrepreneurs in the UK has contributed towards narrowing the “enterprise gap” in British companies. The study, cited in the Financial Times, suggests that “the proportion of working-age women that went into business rose by 45% in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016, compared with 2003 to 2006”. In the same period, “the share of working-age men going into business increased by 27%”.
The conclusions of this study are based on data collected by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, a survey of 10,000 people carried out every year. The scope of the study covers anything from self-employment to expansion of an existing business. It also confirms a growing trend highlighted last year in the “Essence of Enterprise” report published by HSBC. According to this study, the headline conclusion is that “the proportion of female entrepreneurs in the UK has nearly doubled among recent generations”. Again, the report found that British women were most likely to have become entrepreneurs in order to benefit their families or because they are attracted to the flexibility provided by the lifestyle.
Both studies suggest that gender diversity in business is going through a period of change. Amongst the factors underpinning this trend is the need for more flexible working conditions. This is particularly relevant in the case of women who, in many cases, need to juggle work and family. Entrepreneur, make-up artist and potter, Carol Morley, started Kabinshop in 2015 as an outlet for her love of ceramics. Besides financial independence, Carol says that one of the advantages of being an entrepreneur is “the flexibility and not having to answer to anyone. It also makes you work harder because there is no guaranteed salary at the end of the month”. Carol’s comment is representative of an opinion shared by the majority of women entrepreneurs cited in the Aston University report. Flexibility and freedom from rigid traditional work situations are key factors in the decision to become self-employed.
This trend, however, needs to be seen as part of a wider context that goes hand in hand with technological advances. The onset of cloud technology has led the way in online accounting systems that provide real-time information and business data. Applications and smartphone technologies have opened the door to mass use.
Many entrepreneurs benefit from access to these systems and the flexibility they provide. Sage One is a leading entry-point online accounting system that caters specifically for the needs of entrepreneurs and start-ups with up to 20 employees. Find out the benefits here.