Female entrepreneurship has a long way to go…

This year on International Women’s day we decided to pause and reflect on some rather sobering female entrepreneurship statistics [1]

  1. Only 1 in 3 UK entrepreneurs is female
  2. Male led SMEs are 5 times more like to scale to a > £ 1million turnover
  3. Less than 1% of UK venture funding goes to all-female teams

There are several cultural barriers that need to be addressed including a lower appetite for risk than their male counterparts, a perceived ability gap, access to support networks and examples of women who have overcome the odds to achieve great success. One of the ways society has attempted to address this is by highlighting inspirational women who have overcome the various hurdles to become CEOs of large corporations, nurture a successful business, etc. But are these relatable role models? Although the archetypal “Wonder Woman” is most impressive she can appear largely unattainable and being impressive should not have to rely on superhuman powers. For example, there are higher employment rates for adult daughters regardless of whether their moms held high-skill or low-skill jobs [2]

So, while we continue to try and inspire girls by talks by successful astronauts, athletes, CEOs etc. we shouldn’t forget the very real change we can effect through everyday role models across a broad spectrum of jobs and businesses. From the small business owner working in the evenings from home to the multi-million pound tech entrepreneur are equally important to inspiring the next generation of female entrepreneurs and women in the workforce.

Let’s keep the Wonder Women for inspiration but turn to real role models who can show our daughters the spectrum of what can be achieved regardless of their circumstances or the size of their dreams.


  • [1] Alice Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, 2019
  • [2] Kids of Working Moms Grow into Happy Adults; Harvard Business School Working Knowledge 2018