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Centre for Entrepreneurs: ‘women more likely to work towards controlled, profitable growth’

Shattering Stereotypes: Women in Entrepreneurship, a report from the Centre for Entrepreneurs, has found that female leaders are more likely to focus on growing stable businesses, rather than eyeing the high-value exit.

Sarah Fink, head of research of the Centre for Entrepreneurs, said: “The economic empowerment of women and the rise of the entrepreneurial economy are two defining trends of our time.

“Women entrepreneurs are more likely to work towards controlled, profitable growth with relatively little interest in merely positioning themselves for lucrative exit. They often prefer to re-invest business profits over equity investment to scale sustainably.”

The report surveyed nearly 500 c-level executives and entrepreneurs operating businesses with annual turnover in excess of £2m.

It found that 62% of men surveyed said their business was prospering, compared to 42% of women, despite the fact that the women-led businesses in the study reported higher profits before tax.

The large majority of women surveyed, 87%, called themselves ‘financial risk-takers’, compared to 73% of men, but a higher number of women also said they were concerned about taking risks that may harm people or profit. Women were also more likely to say they lacked the knowledge, technical skills or the right networks to make their business a success.

The c-level women surveyed were much more keen to start their own business in the next three years than their male peers, 69% compared to just 29%. Another 47% of female entrepreneurs said they were ‘extremely interested’ in launching an additional venture during this time, compared to just 18% of male business owners.

John Winter, CEO of Barclays Corporate bank, who worked on the report, added: “ As women increasingly embrace entrepreneurship they are pioneering different business cultures and models of entrepreneurial growth. Our research reveals women-led businesses inject diversity at the firm-level as well, and this variation in business strategy will be beneficial to the economy as a whole.”