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1 in 3 Female Entrepreneurs Felt Unsupported in Business Startups

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One in three female entrepreneurs felt unsupported in their startup journey, a new study by Sage has found in an investigation into the landscape of women-led startups across the country.

The study delves into the areas where women entrepreneurs have found their footing, the obstacles they have faced, and the support systems that have helped aid their startup journey.

The research found that while most male and female business owners expressed a sense of readiness when launching their startups regarding skills and knowledge, a notable portion still felt unprepared.

Around 27% of women and 23% of men admitted feeling unprepared for the challenges they encountered. Strikingly, 97% of all entrepreneurs acknowledged the need to continually develop and enhance various skills to run their businesses effectively.

The study also found that 51% of women were more inclined to start their own businesses to seek more flexibility and improved work-life balance. In comparison, the top reason men entered the business world was pursuing financial opportunities (48%).

The research spotlighted the distinct challenges women entrepreneurs encounter, revealing a disparity compared to their male counterparts. Areas of struggle encompassed profitability (77%), the intricate balance between work and life (72%), the imperative of environmental sustainability (65%), the art of cost minimisation (71%), adept financial management (74%), comprehensive tax understanding (75%), and seamless technology adoption (69%).

Confidence in pursuing future success emerged as another compelling dimension where women entrepreneurs stood out from their male counterparts. The survey illuminated that women exuded heightened optimism regarding various milestones to be achieved within the forthcoming year.

  • Increasing profitability (68% vs. 67%)
  • Expanding brand awareness (67% vs. 64%)
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction (74% vs. 72%)
  • Boosting sales (66% vs. 61%)
  • Pursuing environmental sustainability (61% vs. 53%)

A regional breakdown of the data also revealed which areas of the country are the best for women-led startups. Sage’s index considered factors such as the female employment rate, the gender pay gap, the cost of office space, as well as data from the study detailing how many women in each region felt they were sufficiently supported and how well they have been able to manage their work-life balance.

These factors, among several others, saw the North East rank highest, with 81% of female entrepreneurs feeling supported as they embarked on their business ventures and 69% highlighting their ability to manage the delicate balance between work and life commitments.

Equally noteworthy was the finding that a greater percentage of women (12%) reported not having accessed any funding resources or options during the startup phase, in contrast to the 6% of men. This discrepancy underscored a gender-based gap in accessing crucial financial backing and resources.

Furthermore, the study laid bare the fact that women frequently encountered a lack of support, ranging from financial assistance to governmental and local council backing, trade organisations, and industry networks, with 32% of women saying they could have had more support or had no support, versus 29% of men.

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