MORE THAN HALF OF UK’S FEMALE MICRO BUSINESS OWNERS EXPECT ANNUAL GROWTH IN 2016 DESPITE TOUGH FINANCIAL HURDLES 

  • Majority (54%) of UK women micro-business owners (MBO’s) expect their businesses to do better financially in 2016
  • 49% of UK female MBO’s look to similar MBO’s for inspiration over globally famous business leaders
  • Over two thirds of female entrepreneurs say they need additional support

The future is bright for female micro-business owners in the UK. Over six in ten expect their business to do better financially in 2016 according to Vistaprint’s Women-owned Micro Businesses Trend Report* released today, which studied female entrepreneurs in both the UK and US. And despite the many challenges and long working hours, 83% of UK female MBO’s would recommend starting their own business to other women, whilst 59% believe they now have the same or even more opportunities than men to run a successful company.

On both sides of the Atlantic women micro-business owners have a rosy outlook with 77% of Millennials expecting growth, as compared to 67% of Gen Xers and 52% of Baby Boomers. The lower expectations for Baby Boomers is driven by their business strategy of maintaining their business at its current size over the next five years (32%). 11% indicated that they are preparing to sell the business or close it down, compared to 0% of Millennials and 3% of Gen Xers.

The report also highlights the importance of community and peer to peer support. In order to reach their desired level of success, 49% of UK female MBO’s prefer to look to business owners like themselves for advice and inspiration, rather than well-known, high flying business people. Whilst over half do admire globally known business leaders including JK Rowling (38%), Richard Branson (30%) and Jamie Oliver (21%), four in ten agreed that they don’t aspire to achieve their amount of business success. In fact, only a third of female MBOs stated that they started their business to make money, citing following their passion (43%) and taking control of their lives (48%) forming the top two reasons.

59% of UK women MBO’s believe that women currently have the same or more opportunities as men to be successful at running a micro business. Nevertheless, even in this environment, 35% of female MBO’s say they have encountered some level of gender discrimination and stereotyping in business.

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However, the financial difficulties that women face when opening a small or micro-business is still one of the biggest challenges they have to deal with. 50% listed limited access to funding as the top issue they face. Around two thirds (67%) of women MBO’s indicated that they need additional support to tackle issues as a business owner including tax incentives or credit (33%), advice from other micro business owners (33%) and more networking or mentoring opportunities (34%)

One in five respondents claim their entire household income stems from their micro-business, proving how important the sustained success of their venture is to their overall livelihood. 70% of UK female entrepreneurs made less than £35,000 revenue in 2015 and 11% did not generate any income from their small businesses. This resulted in 51% of UK respondents claiming to not earn enough through their business to support themselves.

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