Female Entrepreneurship is in Trouble

A staggering 81% of 11-18-year olds are unable to name a single female entrepreneur, according to new research from Santander* published at the end of February 2020!

The study also found that children today are nearly four times as likely to think of a man rather than a woman when they hear the word ‘entrepreneur’. Among the small percentage of children who could name a female entrepreneur, Karen Brady and Deborah Meaden were the most recognised, highlighting the lack of visibility of more recently established female business owners.

Over 63% of girls aged 11-18 said they have never thought about starting their own business, that’s 3 in 5 girls, with the main reason cited that they don’t know anything about how to begin.

With only a fifth of businesses in Britain currently being run by women, this research highlights the knock-on effect the lack of visible female role models is having on the next generation. 

The research worryingly also suggests that parents across the UK may be playing a part in perpetuating an entrepreneurship gender divide, with just a third of girls stating that they have been encouraged by their parents to become an entrepreneur, versus 42% of boys.

The study also found that almost half of parents believe entrepreneurship is largely male-dominated, with a 27% saying it’s because ‘men are more business minded.’  

Susan Davies, Managing Director, Santander Business, commented, “It’s shocking that as we enter the 2020s some parents continue to believe that boys are somehow more naturally suited to business than girls.

These findings clearly show that as a nation we need to do much more to encourage and support young women to become entrepreneurs. It’s vital to the UK’s success that we harness the huge potential of young women to drive economic growth and shape the country’s future through new business ideas.”

In a bid to support the next generation in considering running a business in the future, Santander has launched a new guide to becoming an entrepreneur, including videos and tips from a range of female business owners. 

Olympic and three time World Champion, Santander ambassador and entrepreneur Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill, said, “It’s very disappointing that despite the progress that’s been made on gender equality in recent years there is still such a stark gender divide when it comes to young people and entrepreneurship. That’s why I’m working with Santander to inspire more young women to think about starting their own business and support them with practical, real-world advice from successful female entrepreneurs. Launching a new business is extremely daunting, even for someone fortunate enough to have had a head start like me, so I know this kind of support will be really valuable to anyone thinking of taking the plunge.”

Engagement for Business uses the knowledge gained over the past 12 years in launching and running a successful business to help and coach other business owners in their own businesses. Sometimes, we all need a helping hand to reinvigorate our passion and drive; sometimes, we all hit a wall; sometimes, you need a sounding board to help you refocus your time and energy; sometimes, you need someone to redirect the roadmap of your business to get you back on a course to engage and excel! Don’t be afraid to reach out for a helping hand, drop us a line to engagementforbusiness@gmail.com.

*Research undertaken by OnePoll on behalf of Santander UK in November 2019. The sample was 2,000 British parents and 2,000 British children (aged 11-18).