One part of it is an agile response to a difficult situation – childcare. For a family with two children, costs of childcare has more than doubled in just a decade to nearly £12,000 per year. Prudent mothers, with one eye on their children and the other on the family’s finances, are turning to small business as an alternative revenue stream.
Another reason is the reduced barrier to entry into modern markets. Sarah Calcott, eBay UK COO, commented: “Improved connectivity and growing digital literacy is enabling ambitious, business-minded mums to realise and pursue successful enterprises”. Increasingly, parents are able to work from home in order to provide both childcare and financial supplement using retail portals such as eBay and Etsy. In a Direct Line survey of mothers with young children, two thirds said they were considering running a business from home.
However, eBay shouldn’t get all the plaudits. Mumpreneurs contributed £1.4bn to the health and care industry and £1.1bn to the professional and technical services industry, as compared to £650m to the retail industry. Startups rely on their owner’s specific set of skills and expertise and mumpreneurs know this. These aren’t your average housewives selling last season’s shoes online.