On International Women’s Day on 8th March, we at Pink Spaghetti are celebrating female entrepreneurs as well as the achievements of all women. 
It’s worth celebrating because we’ve come a long way since International Women’s Day (IWD) took a stand on behalf of women for the very first time in 1911. 
Nevertheless, it’s still also a call to action as women pursue gender parity and equality. The harsh fact is that according to the World Economic Forum, gender parity is unlikely to happen in the next century still. It is such a simple idea to be paid fairly for your skill and time, regardless of your sex – but not seemingly simple enough to take hold for many women in employment. 
For us, as an all-female owned company with our 50 amazing female franchisees all from corporate backgrounds, we relish the fact we have been able to carve out an entrepreneurial opportunity for ourselves. It allows us to be entirely responsible for our own successes and let’s dare say it, occasional failures. Just like men we are not perfect and should be allowed to fail just like they do. 
So, on behalf of all women, and especially those who haven’t found the moment to strike out on their own yet, we choose to back IWD in 2021. 
This is about striking a pose by raising your hand to draw attention to gender bias, inequality and economic barriers for women. Please join us on the 8th as we do the same. Check out the IWD website for all the info on how you can show your support! 
The stats on women running their own businesses are interesting to say the least. We are heartened by the fact the government commissioned the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship which has highlighted that there is much to be achieved for sound GDPR economic reasons. The government has since made a commitment to support women considering being their own boss. 
We’re quoting telling data and information from the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship report here: 
Up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men. 
Even if the UK were to achieve the same average share of women entrepreneurs as best-in-class peer countries, this would add £200 billion of new value to the UK economy. 
Findings have shown that women do not lack ability or ambition but the stats for the UK show that there is significant catching up to do. 
Only 1 in 3 UK entrepreneurs is female. Even though that’s an increase, this gender gap means we’re missing 1.1 million businesses in the UK. 
Significantly female-led businesses are on average 44% of the size of male-led businesses in terms of their contribution to the economy. 
Fewer UK women choose to become entrepreneurs than in best practice peer countries: Only 6% of UK women run their own businesses, compared to 15% of women in Canada, almost 11% of women in the US, and over 9% of women in Australia and the Netherlands. 
Male-owned businesses are five times more likely to scale up to £1million turnover than female-owned. 
Women-owned enterprises represent less than 25% of business in the UK’s five most productive sectors. 
They also tend to be smaller: 81% of female businesses employ five people or less compared to 73% of businesses owned by men. 
Women are less likely to pursue entrepreneurship: just 8.6% of all UK women surveyed said they plan to start a business in the next three years, compared to 14.3% of men. 
And once established, data suggests 29% of male entrepreneurs will eventually achieve £1–50 million turnover 
Perceived bias within the UK venture finance community is a concern. Start-up funding is one key barrier mentioned by women as they launch businesses with 53% less capital on average than men. They are less aware of funding options and less likely to take on debt. Only 1% of all venture funding goes to businesses founded by all-female teams. This quite simply inhibits scale up. 
Family responsibilities 
We know this already; women take on the burden of family care and women are twice as likely as men to mention family responsibilities as a barrier to starting a business and to scaling up. The pandemic only made this worse. 
Women typically have higher risk sensitivity than men and are more cautious about starting or scaling a business. At Pink Spaghetti we say caution is not always a bad thing! It helps us make sound and thought-through decisions but be aware if it’s holding you back from being ambitious. 
Self-belief (lack of) 
This old bugbear – often operating as Impostor Syndrome. The data has shown that it’s a real problem and critically that it’s down to a perceived gap in ability, not an actual gap in skill sets. In addition, many of the women interviewed often credited other people for their success and dismissed their own achievements. Let’s stop doing that! 
It’s the who-you-know issue 
Women are less likely than men to know other entrepreneurs or to have access to sponsors, mentors or professional support networks. LinkedIn is a great place to build connections and get to know who’s who. Also don’t forget to check out chambers of commerce, business groups and local government initiatives to help with your business development. You can seek out the advice and support you need to fast-track growth with confidence. 
The report recommended initiatives to the government to tackle these barriers. They relate primarily to: 
making investment and funding culturally accessible and practically accessible. 
improving access to expertise, mentoring and networking. 
providing channels to develop female entrepreneurs through education and initiatives. 
In sharing this with you we wanted to draw attention to the factors that may be subconsciously or factually providing barriers for women. If that’s you, then you can take steps to expressly work out what you need to do next to make growth happen. 
We love to do our bit for women entrepreneurs, who we know from experience are extremely capable. 
So, please join us in the self-employed club – we highly recommend it! 
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