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Women entrepreneurs: the statistics

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More than 1,000 women entrepreneurs were surveyed and the findings show:

* 70 per cent of those polled started their business because they wanted more flexible working conditions;

* 75 per cent of respondents said work life balance is better when you’re running your own business;

* 34 per cent said more encouragement from the government would have made the start-up stage easier while 27 per cent would have liked easier access to finance and 23 per cent would have liked a mentor;

* 86 per cent would set up a business again;

* 78 per cent gained greater independence once they became an entrepreneur;

* 66 per cent have enjoyed increased confidence;

* 55 per cent of manual or unskilled female entrepreneurs set up in the past five years compared with 47 per cent of professional/skilled women;

* Fear of failure was a minor concern for 44 per cent of respondents and a significant concern for 27 per cent. Actual failure rates are on a par for both male and female entrepreneurs.

Tonight, Minister for Women and Equality Harriet Harman and Business Secretary of State John Hutton will host a reception celebrating women in business where they’ll announce a new publicity campaign to encourage more women to become entrepreneurs.

Hutton says: "Increasing entrepreneurship among the UK’s women brings us huge economic benefits – maximising an untapped economic dividend and increasing productivity.

"If the UK matched the USA’s level of women-led businesses we would have an additional 900,000 businesses and 150,000 start-ups every year.

"I want us to be the most enterprising economy in the world and to do this, we need women to start and grow their own businesses. That’s why measures to boost female entrepreneurship are central to our recent enterprise strategy."

Regarding the strategy (which includes a £12.5m investment fund for women), let’s hope it’s more helpful than the government’s four, very bland tips on starting out:

* Contact Business Link * Find a mentor* Spot a new trend or market, or put a twist on an existing idea* Do initial research and seek advice alongside your day job.

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