Women don’t need to be called an entrepreneur to succeed in business

Women mothers precluded with business

These are some of the findings from a report which unravels how gender influences entrepreneurial ambitions and risk taking.

Women entrepreneurs are also less likely than men to display overconfidence when evaluating the track record of their business. Almost two thirds of the male entrepreneurs surveyed were more likely than women to state that their business was prospering, despite the fact that the women-led businesses studied reported higher profits in comparison.

The research, published by the Centre for Entrepreneurs in partnership with Barclays, examines the differences in how men and women think about risk and found that typical gender differences reverse in this sample of successful executives and entrepreneurs.

Women on average self-report as financial risk takers while 80 per cent of women say they see opportunities where others might see risk, compared to 67 per cent of men.

However, a high number of women say they are concerned about taking “fool-hardy” risks that may endanger the livelihood of their employees, or their own financial situation. In addition to a perceived lack of technical expertise and network reach, the reluctance to take such risks are seen by these women as a significant barrier to their business growth.

Commenting on the findings, Sarah Fink, head of research of the Centre for Entrepreneurs said: “The economic empowerment of women and the rise of the entrepreneurial economy are two defining trends of our time. Women entrepreneurs are more likely to work towards controlled, profitable growth with relatively little interest in merely positioning themselves for lucrative exit. They often prefer to re-invest business profits over equity investment to scale sustainably.

“With this report and the Fortuna 50 index celebrating the 50 fastest growing women-led businesses, the Centre for Entrepreneurs aims to challenge the unconscious biases that are holding back more women from starting and growing companies.”

John Winter, CEO of Barclays Corporate bank said: “Entrepreneurship brings huge value to the UK economy, driving growth, jobs, innovation and helping to foster the kind of export mentality the UK needs to succeed on a world trade stage. As women increasingly embrace entrepreneurship they are pioneering different business cultures and models of entrepreneurial growth. Our research reveals women-led businesses inject diversity at the firm-level as well, and this variation in business strategy will be beneficial to the economy as a whole.”

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