North East leads the way for women entrepreneurs

A new study from Sage has revealed how the North East tops the country in terms of the best places for female startup entrepreneurs.

The study explores where women entrepreneurs felt most prepared and supported when launching their businesses, looking into their struggles and where they were able to find support. It takes its insights from a survey of 500 small business leaders, asking them about their experiences and aspirations, as well as additional research into the female employment rate, gender pay gap, and cost of office space, among other factors across the different regions.

North East takes the lead

The North East emerged as the standout region where women entrepreneurs felt significantly supported during their startup journey. According to the survey, 81% of female entrepreneurs in this region reported feeling supported as they embarked on their business ventures, and 69% of them highlighted their ability to manage the delicate balance between work and life commitments.

This compared to 66% of women across the country who said they felt supported when starting up and 61% who said they felt they had been successful at managing their work-life balance as an entrepreneur, clearly showing the North East as above the national average. The North East also scored favourably in other aspects of the overall ranking, including the low cost of office space and the smaller gender pay gap.

Confidence in Success

In terms of confidence for future success, women entrepreneurs demonstrated self-assurance in several key areas compared to men. The survey indicated that women were more optimistic about achieving the following within the next 12 months:

  • Increasing profitability (68% vs. 67%)
  • Expanding brand awareness (67% vs. 64%)
  • Enhancing customer satisfaction (74% vs. 72%)
  • Boosting sales (66% vs. 61%)
  • Pursuing environmental sustainability (61% vs. 53%)

Another significant finding was that a higher percentage of women (12%) reported not accessing any funding resources or options during their startup phase, in contrast to 6% of men. Moreover, the study revealed that women often felt a lack of support from various quarters, including financial assistance, governmental and local council support, trade organisations, and industry networks.

Reasons for Starting up

When it comes to the motivations behind starting a business for regions across England, the study found that women were more inclined to begin their entrepreneurial journey for more flexibility and improved work-life balance (51%). On the other hand, male startup leaders said that the financial opportunity was their main reason for entering the business world.

While a majority of both male and female business owners expressed a sense of readiness when launching their startups in terms of skills and knowledge, a notable portion still said they felt unprepared. Around 27% of women and 23% of men admitted to not feeling completely ready for the challenges they encountered, and 97% of all entrepreneurs acknowledged the need to continually develop and enhance various skills to effectively run their businesses.

Struggles Encountered: Gendered Challenges

The research highlighted key areas where women entrepreneurs encountered more challenges compared to their male counterparts. Struggles encompassed profitability (77%), work-life balance (72%), environmental sustainability (65%), cost minimization (71%), financial management (74%), tax understanding (75%), and technology adoption (69%).

Empowering Women Entrepreneurs

As the landscape for entrepreneurs continues to evolve, it is evident that women entrepreneurs face both unique challenges and exciting opportunities. The regional differences in support and preparedness highlight the importance of fostering environments that uplift women-led startups, enabling them to navigate the business world with confidence, while also underlining the need for targeted support, mentorship, and resources to empower women entrepreneurs on their journey to success.You can read more about the study from Sage here:

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