International Women’s Day


Improving work-life balance was the reason that 39% of female entrepreneurs started a business. 30% said they launched firms as they wanted to choose where they worked and 25% reassessed their careers after having children, according to Small Business Britain.

More than 150,000 new companies were started by women in 2022 – more than twice as many as in 2018. All-female-led companies represented 20% of all businesses in the UK in 2022, up from 16% in 2018. 16 to 25-year-old women founded nearly 17,500 businesses in 2022, more than 22 times as many as in 2018.

While still low the figures are heartening. Over the past year I’ve met many brilliant, determined and resilient women running and growing their creative and innovative businesses. However, even today I was hearing from women who say it’s hard to find the support they need. Women from different ethnic backgrounds or who are neurodivergent or disabled also report struggling to find the help to match their needs.

The UK can’t afford to miss out on those skills, and the experience and talent that women from all backgrounds bring. Our contribution to the economy is huge and our impact on local communities and wider society of women-led businesses is enormous. The pandemic proved it: there’s no reason why working can’t be flexed better to allow for caring responsibilities which still fall more to women than men. If a woman with children and parents to look after can run her own business and choose the hours, times and place of work, everyone, as well as the economy and wider society benefits. On top of that there’s the potential for women to address issues such as the shortfall in pension savings for retirement and planning for long term care should it be necessary. All that helps the treasury beyond just the tax take.

We need to get the help and support right for businesses in all sectors, at all sizes and all stages of their development, so that more women power ahead. We can only do that if we listen to what female entrepreneurs are saying. We also need to encourage more women into coaching and mentoring their peers.

We can all play our part. Let’s start by making this International Women’s Day the first day of a yearlong international drive, to make it possible for more women all over the world to share with more women their insights and experiences, their successes and challenges, their tools and tips for breaking down barriers and winning in business. One small tip a day (HERE) from you wherever you are, and we’ll all be better business women by 8th March 2025.

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