From the top · 19 December 2015

The small business advent calendar: December 19 Women in business, or not

What's behind door number 19?
What’s behind door number 19?
With it now being less than a week until Christmas, our festive offerings continue by shedding some rather unflattering light on British business demographics.

Despite the surge in British entrepreneurial activities, less than one in five SMEs are actually being majority-led by women despite a continued effort to promote females in business.

Real Business, the sister title to Business Advice, has its own First Women movement which brings together trailblazing and remarkable senior women leaders and professionals. It demonstrates the great things done by women in business.

However, it’s alarming to hear that only 19 per cent of SMEs are headed up by women. On top of that, half of all businesses in this size range are entirely run by men.

Findings from the Women’s Business Council showed that if women were setting up and running new businesses at the same rate as men, we could have an additional one million female entrepreneurs.

The proportion of working-age women who are engaged in entrepreneurial activity is only 6.3 per cent, nearly half that of the 11.6 per cent male statistic.

Majority women-led SMEs kick in 70bn in gross to the British economy, but it’s a figure which could be considerably higher. The Women’s Business Council is concerned that too much business support is focused on high-growth? enterprises scaring off would-be entrepreneurs who are not interested in this kind of rapid expansion.



Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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