Bristol’s women-led businesses contributed £67 million to the UK’s economy and created an additional 1,000 jobs in 2015, according to new findings by NatWest.
The research, undertaken in partnership with Development Economics, revealed that female entrepreneurs in Bristol set up 2,000 businesses in 2015 alone.
Female entrepreneurs contributed £3.15 billion to the UK economy overall in 2015. However, despite a strong growth in female entrepreneurship overall since 2009, the number of women setting up a business in the UK still lags behind countries such as Canada and the US, costing the UK economy £1 billion a year.
The research revealed that while the proportion of the UK’s female working population starting a business nearly doubled from 3.7% to 7.1% between 2009 and 2012, this has since tailed off, falling every year and standing at less than 5% in 2015.
Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest corporate, commercial and private banking, said: “Bristol has a vibrant entrepreneurial economy and it’s fantastic to see just how much women contribute to this. But it’s also clear we need to do more to power this growth in the same way our global counterparts do.”
Entrepreneur Helen Nott set up her own business after leaving a highly stressful environment in legal recruitment. The nursery in Wraxall was founded in response to Helen struggling to find adequate childcare for her sons.
Helen established Charlton Nursery in 2004, initially with a business partner who subsequently left the business and sold her shares to Helen. Further sites in Flax Bourton and Winterstoke Road followed in 2010 and 2014.
Helen, who now employs 70 staff, wishes that more women would take the plunge and set up their own businesses.
She comments: “The one thing I miss is the company of other like-minded women. I would love it if there were more female entrepreneurs I could share experiences with.”