For women to attain the flexibility and career progression they crave in the current economic climate, many are opting to start their own business, according to the new report authored by Professor Julie Logan of Cass Business School for Avon UK.
The Avon ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’
Comments Angela Tucker, Avon UK Sales Director:
“The Avon ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’
The report, which today will be debated by leading businesswomen, including Avon mentor, Karren Brady, paints a picture of female-led enterprise and its value today and shows:
Why ‘everyday entrepreneurs’
• One third (33%) of respondents to the Avon ‘Everyday Entrepreneur’
• With women in employment carrying the burden of longer hours and less stability, four in ten (41%) self-employed or business-owner women who had a career changing‘lightbulb’
What motivates them as business owners:
• Female business-owners are frequently “kitchen-table entrepreneurs”
• 59%of respondents stated flexibility was the most enjoyable part of running their own business.
• One in three ‘everyday entrepreneurs’
• That’s not to say there are no financial rewards – almost half (45%) of the women questioned said they were the chief income earner in their household.
The financials involved:
• Four in ten respondents required no investment to get their enterprise up and running, suggesting that women are looking for self-employment options that insulate their family against financial instability and have low barriers to entry.
• The Avon report suggests that with 84% of respondents expecting their business to stay the same size or grow over the next three years, the ‘everyday entrepreneur’
The generation gap:
• Young women aged 18-34 are more likely to consider themselves entrepreneurs and embrace this as a career trajectory from the outset but they are driven by the idea of fulfilling a dream or passion with 39% of women who named this as their motivation under 35 years old.
• And younger women were more optimistic about their business prospects, with 52% under-35s expecting growth, compared to 21% of women aged 55-64.
How we could encourage more female enterprise:
• 28% of those questioned felt that more women could be encouraged to start up their own ventures if more mentoring and business start-up courses were made available to women and 29% felt more could be encouraged if the success of self-employed women was highlighted more in the media
• Most female business owners don’t connect with the word “entrepreneur”
• Professor Julie Logan summarised her report as showing:
o That the popular view of entrepreneurship – as viewed through programmes like Dragon’s Den – is seen as focused on making money and is synonymous with “men making money”.
Professor Julie Logan comments:
“Contrary to the popular view, our findings show that when it comes to female entrepreneurs, they are not powered by ego but by the promise of flexibility, fulfillment and fun. The report explores how young women are more likely to embrace entrepreneurship as a career option and embark on this career trajectory from the outset. As these young women create ventures that grow and employ people this will have a very positive impact on the UK economy.”
Comments Karren Brady:
For a long time now the idea of success in enterprise has been synonymous with male personalities. What women want to see is more examples of female entrepreneurs who run successful businesses that fit their lifestyle choices but don’t necessarily have to turn over multi-millions of pounds. Today’
Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Theresa May said:
“Women have a vital role to play in our economic recovery, and this report shows an increasing number are setting up their own businesses, which is really positive news.This government is actively encouraging more entrepreneurs, for example by providing 5,000 mentors specifically trained to advise women who want to start or grow their own business. This can be a particularly attractive option to those who are juggling work and family life. We have set up a Women's Business Council to provide advice on how to further improve the business environment for women and maximise their contribution to economic growth.”
Says Angela Tucker, Avon UK Sales Director:
“What today’s report shows us is that women can develop their own income stream without the backing of big banks and with the support of positive role models and mentors. Karren Brady has been working with us in this capacity as mentor to our Independent Avon Representatives, as we continue to respond to the appetite for enterprise. It is the combination of low risk, low cost venture and the huge support network of experts and 6.4 million Independent Avon Representatives worldwide that has made Avon’s business model so endurable.”
Adds Siobhan Benita, independent candidate in the 2012 London mayoral election and working mum: “This report just goes to show how creative and entrepreneurial women can be. Government and public leaders need to do everything possible to harness all of this female talent and allow women to flourish in business while combining it with all the other demands on their lives. In my own professional career I have taken action to improve gender equality and improve opportunities for women.”
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