One in seven women started their business for flexibility

But gap between male and female entrepreneurs needs to close, says Harman

One in seven female entrepreneurs say they set up their business for more flexibility between work and family life, a survey revealed this week.

The research, commissioned by minister for women and equality, Harriet Harman, suggested three quarters of women believe their family life has improved since they started their own business.

Almost 80% of female entrepreneurs said they felt they had gained greater independence from setting up their own business, with two thirds adding that it had increased their confidence.

Nearly nine in ten said they would be happy to set their business up all over again, indicating that women entrepreneurs are generally positive about the benefits of being self-employed.

However, the survey also showed that while the number of self-employed women in the UK has increased by 17% since 2000, the gap between male and female entrepreneurship remains wide, with women making up just 27% of the self-employed population.

Harman said women are beginning to recognise the benefits of self-employment.

“Women want to call the shots by running their own business. They’re recognising being their own boss gives them control and allows them to balance their work and family life,” she said.

“Mothers often tear their hair out trying to balance earning a living with bringing up their children, and need more flexibility from their work. Setting up their own business can be the solution.”

But she added more women need to be encouraged to start their own business. “Men are almost twice as likely as women to start a new business,” she said. “That’s why we are determined to close this gap by providing solid support and encouragement.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2008

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