More should be done to close the gender gap between male and female business owners in the UK, according to a paper complied by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BiS).
The report ‘Inclusive Support for Women in Enterprise’ makes a number of suggestions for encouraging women in the UK to fulfil their entrepreneurial potential.
They involve building an evidence base on the importance of diversity in business; along with ensuring diversity throughout the supply and advice chains for businesses.
Steps the government has already taken to support women looking to set up and grow their own businesses include mentoring programmes and specific funding programmes such as the Aspire Fund.
The proportion of female business owners in the UK has increased from 14% in 2008 to 20% today. But this rate of progress needs to be improved, according to the report’s author and women in enterprise champion, Lorely Burt MP.
“Women entrepreneurs have huge potential to build on Britain’s hard-won recovery, creating a stronger economy and a fairer society,” she said. “Sadly too much female entrepreneurial talent remains untapped although the Coalition Government has made progress.
“I am pleased to see the government is taking action and I look forward to further progress over the years ahead.”
Vince Cable, who appointed Burt to the position of women in enterprise champion, added that he did so to “help us increase entrepreneurial aspiration among women”.
“Reaching our target of 25 per cent women on FTSE 100 boards by 2015 is now in sight,” he said. “The government is committed to ensuring that talented women have the tools at hand whether it’s running a business on their own or heading up a corporate board.
“The evidence is clear – gender diversity delivers better business decisions which are vital to securing the future prosperity of the UK.”