Ambitious female business owners shun ‘entrepreneur’ label

Word seen as too ‘masculine’ and ‘blokey’: But women prove just as ambitious as men – often more – in business.

Female business owners are every bit as ambitious as their male counterparts but many do not associate with the term entrepreneur, according to a report by Barclays and the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE).

The paper Shattering Stereotypes: women in entrepreneurship is based on a survey of 483 C-suite executives and entrepreneurs from UK businesses demonstrating an annual turnover in excess of £2million.

The research suggests men and women in both executive and entrepreneurial positions are equally ambitious around business growth.

Among executives 90% of men said they were very or extremely interested in growing their business in the next three years – compared to 92% of women. For entrepreneurs the figures are 82% for men and 83% of women.

Women were found to be must more interested in starting a second business than men. Almost half (47%) said they were extremely or very interested in setting up a new business in the next three years. Among men the figures is only 18%.

>See also: 7 entrepreneurs leading the way for women in technology

Despite their ambitions in business, many women said they were not comfortable with the term “entrepreneur”. Individuals surveyed said they found the term too masculine and “blokey” and that they would rather be known as a business-owner.

But despite misgivings about the title, the report does demonstrate women’s ability to compete both in the executive and entrepreneurial areas.

CFE head of research Sarah Fink called the financial empowerment of women and the rise of the entrepreneurial economy “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,” she continued.

“They often prefer to re-invest business profits over equity investment to scale sustainably.”

Barclays Corporate bank CEO John Winter added that entrepreneurship among both sexes helps the UK to compete on the world stage by “driving growth, jobs and innovation”.

“As women increasingly embrace entrepreneurship they are pioneering different business cultures and models of entrepreneurial growth,” he continued.

“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.”

Further reading on entrepreneurs: Are entrepreneurs cool?

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda Nair

Praseeda was Editor for from 2016 to 2018.

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