New research: Confidence bigger barrier to starting a business than finance say 6 in 10 female entrepreneurs

The gender gap across industries and in business is a long-term problem. While many companies and corporations aim to tackle this by enforcing equality commitments and rethinking their hiring processes, there is still a big gender gap between the number of men and women who start their own businesses.  

Research we at Tide have undertaken explores the attitudes and barriers that female entrepreneurs face on a regular basis. Confidence affects 6 in 10 of those surveyed as one of the biggest barriers to starting a business, with financial insecurity also being mentioned. 54% of women also single out their lack of knowledge about tax as an obstacle to being an entrepreneur. 

And when it comes to what women need when starting their businesses, two-thirds (65%) said they needed emotional support when starting out. Comparatively, only 38% said they needed financial support. However, there tends to be more attention paid by the government and other organisations to financial support schemes and grants (as seen in the government’s response to the Rose Review of Female  Entrepreneurship) – so many women starting their own businesses are often faced with these unexpected barriers from the start.

The fact that men are twice as likely to be entrepreneurs than women is well known. Although, when asked why this is, women surveyed pointed to societal bias as another big reason why there are fewer women running their own businesses. People surveyed anecdotally agreed that women are not taken as seriously in the workplace, that they have to work 5 times harder than men, and that there are far fewer role models for them.. 

There are many reasons why the women taking part in this research identified confidence as being their biggest challenge when starting their business – maybe they are just more honest about it! But being armed with the knowledge and support you need to get started is a great way to help to build confidence and go forth with a feeling of empowerment. 

Michelle Ovens, founder of Peakb and f:entrepreneur has three top tips for women starting out to help boost confidence:

  1. Get yourself a mentor – learn from someone else’s mistakes, have someone who’s been there before to bounce ideas off
  2. Get the right support in place – it’s particularly important to get help with digital skills if you’re not an expert in creating websites, defining a social media strategy etc
  3. Get yourself some cheerleaders! – whether it’s friends, family or peers, make sure you have someone to get behind you, pick you up when you’re down and celebrate  from the side-lines when you’re on the up!

Tide is supporting the f:entrepreneur campaign as part of our commitment to help 100,000 women start out in business over the next five years. 

Research undertaken by Opinium on behalf of Tide amongst 1,000 self-employed women between 7th and 14th June. 

Photo by Prateek Katyal, published on Unsplash

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