Women entrepreneurs required

Women entrepreneurs could play a bigger role in the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting growth as well as reducing gender inequality according to the findings of a new independent report.

Inclusive Support for Women in Enterprise makes a number of suggestions for encouraging women in the UK to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential.

The government has already taken a number of steps to inspire and support women to set up and grow their businesses including mentoring programmes and specific funding programmes such as the – Aspire Fund.

The proportion of female business owners in the UK has increased from 14 per cent in 2008 to 20 per cent today. But this rate of progress needs to be improved, according to the report’s author and women in enterprise champion, Lorely Burt MP.

“Women entrepreneurs have huge potential to build on Britain’s hard-won recovery, creating a stronger economy and a fairer society,” she said. “Sadly too much female entrepreneurial talent remains untapped although the Coalition Government has made progress.”

This report comes just a week before the annual North West IoD awards which take place next Wednesday in Manchester. Claire Sofield owner of Blackburn based Four Recruitment - and a nominee in two categories - at the forthcoming awards said: “Times are definitely changing, and women are being better represented in business. We work with a number of SME businesses that are ran by inspirational, hardworking women.”

However, in the two categories that Claire is nominated in at the awards – ‘young director of the year’ and ‘family director of the year’ she is the only woman nominee, and interestingly enough in the ‘young director of the year’ category, ALL of the businesses are based in Lancashire.

“There is no doubt that women are still not as well represented as males particularly in director positions, its great that there are forums such as the IoD where women directors can showcase the work that they are doing and the achievements they are making.”

Vince Cable, who appointed Lorely Burt to the position of women in enterprise champion, added that he did so to “help us increase entrepreneurial aspiration among women”.

“Reaching our target of 25 per cent women on FTSE 100 boards by 2015 is now in sight,” he said. “The government is committed to ensuring that talented women have the tools at hand whether it’s running a business on their own or heading up a corporate board. “The evidence is clear - gender diversity delivers better business decisions which are vital to securing the future prosperity of the UK.”