International Women's Day: Government must encourage women entrepreneurs

Their new report: Women in business. Female entrepreneurship: creating growth and dispelling the myths, examines the importance of female enterprise in rescuing the economy and recommends ways the government can help women embrace their entrepreneurial side.

"The number of female entrepreneurs is strikingly low, and yet increasing the number of women who run their own small business will be good for the economy." Said John Walker, National Chairman of the FSB.

Even though 46% of the UK's working population is female, the FSB say that only 29% of self-employed are women.

"The US has nurtured female entrepreneurship and now the UK needs to learn from them and do the same. By doing so it will help tackle high unemployment and cultivate an environment for growth," Walker said.

Just some of the FSB's recommendations include:

  • Better promotion of alternative sources of finance and providing access to training and support on financial options to increase the growth potential of women-owned small businesses
  • Offer female mentors through the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme and promote women-specific business networks, forums and mentors through Jobcentre Plus
  • Introduce enterprise clubs for women to facilitate networking with successful female entrepreneurs and provide access to speakers and advisors on how to start up a business
  • Tap into existing campaigns to further promote female business role models in the media

If ever you needed proof that women were just as capable of setting up a booming business as their male counterparts - then check out tips from some of Smarta's most successful female entrepreneurs.

  • Kanya King, founder of the MOBO Awards and speaker at Smarta Live, gives advice on why having a strong business plan will help you focus in the long term.
  • Rachel Elnaugh, the former Dragon who founded Red Letter Days has experienced both success and failure and emerged stronger for it.
  • Sahar Hashemi, the woman who founded Coffee Repbulic spoke to Smarta about breaking into a new market, and when to get out.
  • Karen Hanton, founder of Toptable, took us through the early days of her own business.
  • Shaa Wasmund, Smarta's own founder explains how she found the funding to start a business in the height of the recession.
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