New study from Tide suggests 82% of women would not consider starting their own business

Business women

A new study from Tide, the London-based business financial platform, looks into what female entrepreneurship looks like in 2021 across the UK.

According to the research, around 1 in 5 women (18%) have considered starting a business, which is lower than the number of men who said they have considered forming their own company (29%).

Of those who have thought about starting their own business, the most common reason why they haven’t is a lack of savings or financial concerns, with women usually likely to start a business while either working part-time or after a career break, unlike men who usually start a business while working full-time and on much firmer financial footing.

The number of self-employed women has increased since 1984 (when the earliest data is available). In 1984, there were 646,000 women in self-employment in the UK.

Fast forward to 2020 and that number has increased by 148% to 1.6m! For context, the UK population grew by 18% between 1984 and 2019.

Over the same period, the number of self-employed men increased by 47% from 2.05 million to 3.02 million, so while the gap is certainly closing, there are still just under twice as many self-employed men as women.

Edinburgh and South East Scotland take the crown for the most female founders in the UK with 35,000 female founders making up 39% of self-employed people who are female. Followed by the North of Tyne region which includes Newcastle upon Tyne and the West of England, which includes Bristol (both 34.7%).

According to the report, the health and social sector has the most self-employed females, with 74% of self-employed people in the industry being female.

This was followed by industries such as ‘households as employers’, which encompasses roles such as cleaners, babysitters and secretaries (69%) and other service activities, such as hairdressers and beauticians (66.8%).

Lize Haskell, Chief Administrative Officer at Tide comments on the findings: “Our research reveals that the number of self-employed women has increased by 148% since 1984, with over 1.6 million women in self-employment in the UK today. It’s great to see how women have made huge strides in entrepreneurship in recent years, with more female-fronted businesses than ever before.

“Starting your own business and taking that first step into entrepreneurship can be daunting, but there is lots of support and initiatives out there to help empower you. At Tide,  we’re committed to supporting women in the UK in starting and running their own business and we have set ourselves the target of helping 50,000 women in starting their business by the end of 2022.”