Posted by: ginalazenby | November 19, 2008

Global Women’s Entreprise Day

gina-karen-darbyGlobal Women’s Enterprise Day took place in 72 countries around the world today – Nov 19th.  On this day, I attended the Everywoman Conference in London. Here I am pictured with keynote speaker Karen Darby, founder of Simply Switch, a company she sold for £22 million with divine timing at the peak of its value, about 5 years after she started it. Karen was exceptionally inspiring, honest and down to earth. She even gave her email address to all 200+ delegates with an offer of support. I am going to ask her to be a mentor! She’s fabulous. Karen’s top tips from the Everywoman site:

The Conference announced their survey of 1500 small business owners where they had wanted to find out if there are any significant differences between men and women who run their own businesses. What they found was that women are every bit as hungry and ambitious as men so we can put to sleep the idea that women’s businesses are simply lifestyle ventures, despite the fact that many start in the home.   Women’s businesses are proving to be a shot in the arm to the economy making a £60 billion contribution in the UK .

Increasingly it is being seen that women hold the key to massive growth in the SME sector. The survey showed that 88% of women predicted growth in their turnover compared to 74% of men.  Surprisingly, women are more likely to have structure and plans in place for their business ventures: 55% have plans compared to 34% of men. Females under 25 are more than twice as likely to have a business plan in place compared with males of the same age – 50% compared with 20%

Finance is the key area that holds women back: while 74% of men are confident in their understanding of access to finance and investment services, only 48% of women share this understanding. Women’s attitude to finance is seen as a barrier to their success: they are less likely to ask for finance and when they do, they ask for less.

First speaker to open the conference was:  Shriti Vadera, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Competitive and Small Business.  She said that “women are the largest under-represented group in enterprise. Their untapped talent is essential to Britain’s economic competitiveness and productivity. If women started businesses at the same rate as men there would be 150,000 extra start-ups each year in the UK. “ The under-secretary emphasised that it is important that women fulfil their potential and use their talents in business, not only for themselves, but also for the country. She called for more education around finance particularly as more and more investors are seeing companies run by women to be more attractive.

Only 16% of the 4.7 million UK enterprises are majority women-led. The USA has 20% more businesses per head than the UK. If we matched USA levels of female entrepreneurship there would be 900,000 more businesses in the UK.

Shriti explained how the Government is committed to changing attitudes towards enterprise and taking steps to increase female entrepreneurship by providing more advice and support to women starting and growing their business.  She acknowledged that women do have the talent and drive to be successful. We tend to do better in business and have better skill sets than men but…… and this is the key point …. we don’t believe it ourselves.  It is imperative that we close the confidence gap otherwise support initiatives will not be productive.

The key findings are as follows:

_ Female entrepreneurs are most optimistic about growth.
– 88% of women business owners predict turnover growth compared with 74% of men
_ Turnover growth of up to 25% most commonly predicted over five years amongst women
_ Women are more likely to have the structure in place to realise this growth
– 55% of women work to a business plan compared with just 34% of men
_ Women are also more likely to have identified specific revenue and profit growth targets for
their business:    – 71% of businessmen have not done this, compared with 53% of women
_ Men are more likely to want to sustain their business at its current level
– 43% compared with only 14% of women
_ Females under 25 are more than twice as likely to have a business plan in place compared with males
of the same age:   – 50% compared with 20%
_ The younger entrepreneurs are more inclined to take the risks required to grow their business
– More respondents aged 25 or under were willing to “take risks for maximum growth” (39%)
_ Men are far more likely than women to feel confident about financial investment products
and services:  – 74% compared with only 48%
_ Men are more confident that they have all the skills  necessary to run a successful small business
– 31% compared with 17%. Could this mean that women are more realistic?
_ Women believe female characteristics give them an advantage in the business world
– Primarily communication, organisational skills and multi-tasking



  1. […] Enterprise Week – which seeks to celebrate the achievements of female entrepreneurs.  (see my blogs for last year).  Women in the USA are twice as likely to be entrepreneurially active as women in the UK (State […]

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