This week the Government’s Women’s Business Ambassador and Department of Business Innovation published The Burt Report which focuses on ‘Inclusive Support for Women in Enterprise’. Liverpool based enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation’s assisted MP Lorely Burt to produce the report, gathering experts from different sectors to give evidence.
|MP Lorely Burt's Report Sheds Light on Under-utilised Women Entrepreneurs|
The report reiterates the message that; ‘Women entrepreneurs are an under-utilised economic resource’ and that by improving the support available for women entrepreneurs this would raise employment and ‘help many women to achieve their aspirations.’
Lorely states that women’s employment levels are now higher than they have ever been, but unfortunately as long as just one in five businesses are owned by women, there will be an unused talent which could be used to create jobs and improve the economy.
The report found that women are a third less likely than men to start a business, and this is for a number of reasons outside of the stereotypical motive of women wanting to achieve a ‘work-life balance’, with the report concluding that 2.4 million women who were not working, said that they wanted to, whilst 1.4 million working women said they wanted to work more.
The Women's Organisation's own research very much reflects this with women entrepreneurs recently interviewed sharing that when they faced unemployment due to redundancy and other circumstances they found support to access employment insufficient. Many of the women spoken to said that when accessing employability support their options for employment seemed to be defined by their gender, admin and retail roles being the popular suggestion regardless of their experience and skills, and those with children were asked 'why do you want to work? You have kids, so you should leave looking for work for now'. The same women showed that lack of understanding around self-employment as an option was one of the key areas needing change, and it took their individual determination along with the support of The Women's Organisation to make the difference in their career journey.
The Women’s Organisation agrees with The Burt Report that improving support for women entrepreneurs would advance the progress of the economy, and with the European Institute for Gender Equality stating that bringing in more women entrepreneurs would; ‘increase the quantity and quality of business population.’
Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Organisation welcomed the report saying that “it helped shine a light on the untapped economic contribution that more women starting and growing their own business could make to the UK economy and we must invest in helping and supporting female entrepreneurs. It is now an economic imperative that we ensure that more women are enabled to grow their businesses thereby driving innovation creating jobs and wealth.”