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International Women’s Day (March 8th)

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International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place every year on March 8th, with this year’s theme being ‘Inspire Inclusion’. The theme highlights the need for and encourages the inclusion of not just some women but all women, regardless of race, age, faith, and ability.

IWD serves as a timely reminder of the significant strides made toward inclusivity and equality in the business and entrepreneurial landscape. However, it’s also an opportunity to underscore the ongoing challenges and need for continued efforts to address gaps and barriers to full equality and inclusion.

Encouragingly, the entrepreneurial environment is evolving to be more inclusive, with an increasing number of female entrepreneurs breaking barriers across various sectors in the UK.

Here are some key statistics about women’s entrepreneurship from the money.co.uk business insurance experts’ research that illustrate this trend:

●Self- employment among women has seen a significant and steady increase over the last few decades. The number of self-employed women grew from 920,000 in 1995 to 1.6 million by 2023. This growth underscores the resilience and determination of women wanting to start businesses despite facing numerous challenges.

●These challenges include navigating social and economic barriers that hinderbusiness growth, such as access to funding, with figures showing that 16.9% of companies receiving no external investment are those run by women higher than any other category. This suggests that a higher proportion of women-led companies may be self-funded or not receive external investments.

● Despite this, regionally, the South West (12.6%), London (12.4%), and the South East (11.3%) are leading in terms of the percentage of self-employed women.
These are also the highest-earning parts of the country, suggesting that they offer a more supportive environment for women entrepreneurs.

● The sectors of health, wellbeing, social care (40.4%), education (35.7%), and public health and safety services (35%) stand out for having the highest percentages of female leaders.  This not only showcases the sectors where women are making significant impacts but also where they are likely to drive innovation and growth.

● Among the 1,000 most successful companies globally, those that women lead tend to outperform their male-led counterparts. On average, the companies led by women have revenues of $26 billion, around a third higher than the $20 billion revenue of companies led by men. However, these businesses are underrepresented, with just 8% of the 1,000 most successful being run by women.

● According to GOV.UK, in 2021, just 6.1% of small and medium enterprise (SME)employers were led by a majority of people from an ethnic minority
(excluding white minorities). Based on the existing data about female entrepreneurs, the number of ethnic minority female entrepreneurs is likely even lower than this.

● However,there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit among women in the UK, with just under two-thirds (64%) considering starting businesses. This enthusiasm
for entrepreneurship is a positive sign for the future, suggesting a large pool of potential female entrepreneurs.

Lucinda O’Brien, senior editor at money.co.uk, shares her thoughts on the data:

“The entrepreneurial landscape is moving in the right direction of inclusion for women, and the growth in women’s self – employment is evidence of this progress. However, there are still areas for improvement, including an increased representation of women in top corporate positions and addressing the funding gap for women-led ventures. Importantly, the data also shows that there is still a need for more diverse inclusion – including ethnic minority representation in top business positions – illustrating the importance of this year’s IWD theme.

“For women considering starting their own business, here are some key things to consider:

● Research and Planning: Before diving into your business venture, thoroughly research your industry, target audience, and competition. A well -thought-out
business plan can help you outline your vision and strategies for success.

● Networking: Connect with other women entrepreneurs and business leaders. Their experiences and insights can be invaluable. Join online and offline women entrepreneur groups to foster a supportive community.

● Educate Yourself: Continuous learning is crucial. Attend workshops, seminars, and classes related to entrepreneurship, finance, and your business niche.

● Trust Your Instincts: While gathering information and seeking advice is essential, always trust your instincts and make decisions that resonate with your values and goals.

● Budget Wisely:Create a detailed budget for all startup and recurring expenses. Ensure that you have a cushion for unexpected costs.

● Seek Funding: There are numerous business loans, grants, and investment opportunities for women entrepreneurs. Research and identify those that fit your business model and needs.

● Assess Your Insurance Needs: Different companies have different business insurance requirements. Consider the risks associated with your business type and location.

● Standard Policies: Most businesses should consider general liability insurance, property insurance, and workers’ compensation if they have employees. However,depending on your industry, you may need specialised insurance, such as product liability insurance, professional liability insurance, or commercial auto insurance.

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