Research revealed last month by female networking club AllBright showed that one in four women are setting up their own business as a result of the pandemic.
Despite evidence that women have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus, there’s a renewed sense of optimism among working women.
Yet there remain huge challenges for women setting up their own businesses: 91 per cent of venture capital money continues to fund businesses founded solely by men, with only one per cent invested in businesses founded solely by women.
A new book offers vital insights into how women can start, launch and grow their own businesses in these challenging times, as well as tips on how to stay sane and enjoy the journey.
Female Entrepreneurs – The Secrets of Their Success, co-written by Ruth Saunders and John Smythe, is the result of a two-year project interviewing dozens of female entrepreneurs, many of whom set up their own companies after being passed over for promotion or finding themselves pushed into second-tier roles after having children.
It’s packed with in-depth advice on what to think about when setting your business up for success as well as how to grow it, offering the encouragement, support and motivation aspiring entrepreneurs may need to take the first steps to realising their ambitions.
“Being a female entrepreneur isn’t the preserve of Wonder Woman – we wrote this book to for every woman out there who wants to make it happen,” says co-author Ruth Saunders, an entrepreneur and strategy consultant in customer growth, marketing and branding, as well as a trainer, speaker and coach.
AllBright’s insights show that Covid-19 has prompted more women than ever before to consider starting their own entrepreneurial venture: 74 per cent have been inspired to start a business, 25 per cent have resigned to do so and nearly two-thirds are planning a career change.
“Women are taking the brunt of job losses across many sectors, particularly those aged over 50, but it’s inspiring to know that so many still have the drive to go it alone,” continues Ruth. “I would urge women of every age to consider whether they have a skill, passion or interest that they can turn into a business – and, if so, to think about taking the entrepreneurial leap.”
Female Entrepreneurs – The Secrets of Their Success encourages every woman who has dreamt of starting a company to take the first steps towards realising that goal as well as aiming to inspire women who have never even considered becoming an entrepreneur. It takes readers through 12 chapters – from taking the entrepreneurial leap to funding, scaling and potentially selling a business – using the interviews with successful female entrepreneurs to share insights and real-life tips, including sections on overcoming imposter syndrome, using failure as motivation, and balancing determination with flexibility.
“Women-led SMEs contribute about £85 billion to the UK economy. Whilst that is a significant amount, it is actually only 16 per cent of total productivity,” says co-author John Smythe, a pioneer of leadership development and employee engagement who set up the Smythe Dorward Lambert consultancy.
“We focussed on the experiences of female entrepreneurs rather than entrepreneurship in general in the book as it seems to us that the world of work has been significantly shaped by men for men. Investors are still mainly male and discrimination by male investors towards women is real.
“It’s time that the government, investors and society gave a lot more support to female founders to unleash the economic and productivity bonus we’ll need to help us out of the pandemic-induced recession.”
Female Entrepreneurs – The Secrets of Their Success is published in hardback and ebook by Routledge (£29.99) and is available at bookstores and on amazon.
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