The Women and Enterprise All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) has published a series of recommendations for the Government and private sector, aimed at empowering female entrepreneurs, as the UK leaves the European Union.
In its report: The Future of Female Entrepreneurship: Pathways to progress, the APPG calls for the Government to:
- Provide gender-disaggregated data in key areas so that the impact of any policy changes can be properly measured
- To measure gender diversity at initial conception, scale-up and exit to understand why attitudes towards funding differ from those of their male counterparts
- Develop regional businesses hubs through the UK modelled on the US Women’s businesses centres
The Women and Enterprise APPG reviewed the current experiences of female entrepreneurs because it sees the potential growth of women-owned businesses as an area of economic opportunity for the UK.
Female entrepreneurs already contribute an impressive £115 billion to the economy, despite securing significantly less than 5% of corporate and public sector contracts at present.
The APPG believes it is the duty of Government, financial institutions and the private sector to support female entrepreneurs to ensure that the UK economy benefits from their full potential. The report highlights areas in which the Government and the private sector can develop their support and understanding of issues specific to women seeking to start and grow a business.
Additional key recommendations to the Government:
- A tick box question to identify women-owned businesses should be added to the HMRC Tax Return form which businesses are currently required to submit annually
- Government provision of national and international signposting to knowledge, tools and experts with relevant market information and contacts. This could be added to the ‘GREAT Britain’ campaign
Key recommendations to the Private Sector:
- Increase the number of women working in venture capital firms by encouraging diversity and inclusion when recruiting new members of the team
- Businesses should adopt and promote mentoring and coaching schemes to ensure the appropriate development of women in business
- Women-owned businesses to consider participation in programmes set up by international organisations and Government such as SheTrades by ITC, the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women programmes and Entrepreneurial Sparks to aid export growth
Craig Tracey MP, Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Enterprise said: “I am delighted to introduce the first report of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Enterprise. It has been a long time in the making, drawing on years of research and experience, for which I would like to thank our business board for their hard work
“We believe that now is the right time to empower female entrepreneur’s potential as the UK leaves the European Union.”
Rt Hon Penny Mordaunt MP, Secretary of State for Defence, Minister for Women and Equalities said: “I welcome the first Women and Enterprise APPG report. I want all women to be given the chance to reach their full potential and start their own businesses if they so wish.
“Female entrepreneurs are a great asset to our economy and we should be doing more to encourage more women to start their own businesses in the UK, then make sure they have the conditions they need to grow.”