Women are getting ahead of men to set up shop on the high street
According to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), women are at the head of half of all small businesses in retail, hotels, catering and leisure set up over the past two years.
Twenty years ago, says the FSB, less than a quarter of businesses on the high street were primarily owned by women.
There has been a noticeable change in the recession. As high street shops selling everyday items closed down, women entrepreneurs led more than half the outlets that replaced them. Many of them set up services such as cafes, dry cleaners and hairdressers.
The research shows that female entrepreneurs seem to be better educated than their male peers, with a higher proportion having a degree.
But women aren’t all that enterprising when it comes to taking financial risks. On average they borrowed £18,700, compared with the £28,800 borrowed by men for their businesses. ‘Access to finance remains an issue for small firms in every sector, with 40 per cent of firms applying for finance having their applications denied,’ says the FSB.
Last year Dell released its first ‘Women Powering Business’ report. It covered 17 countries and looked at conditions that fostered ‘high-potential female entrepreneurship’. Again, access to finance was a key barrier overall and the UK ranked sixth as a country that offered opportunities for women.
So do you think the future of the British high street lies in the hands of women?