Study on closing the ‘gender entrepreneurship gap’ helping to shape UK policy

  • Research, carried out by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) experts based at Aston Business School in Birmingham, has been consulted as part of a government review
  • The GEM research reveals that for every 10 male entrepreneurs in the UK, there are fewer than five female entrepreneurs
  • The review has prompted the government to introduce a series of initiatives to help ‘invest in women’

A study, which reveals that men are twice as likely to start a new business in the UK as women, has been used to shape UK government policy.

The research, carried out by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) experts in the UK for over 20 years, based at Aston Business School in Birmingham, consistently shows that for every 10 male UK entrepreneurs, there are fewer than five female entrepreneurs.

The GEM findings have helped inform a UK government review in 2019, titled ‘The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship’, which predicts that the entrepreneurial gender gap equates to over one million missing businesses. The report recommends that increased funding be directed toward female entrepreneurs, greater family and care support as well making entrepreneurship more accessible for women through local mentors and networks.

In response to the review, the UK government has backed a new code, titled “Investing in Women”, which comprises a number of initiatives which encourage institutional and private investors to further support female entrepreneurs, expand networking and membership opportunities and create new banking products.

Alison Rose, Deputy CEO of NatWest, said:  “I firmly believe that the disparity that exists between female and male entrepreneurs is unacceptable and holding the UK back. The unrealised potential for the UK economy is enormous.”

Mark Hart, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business at Aston Business School, said: “A year ago, on International Women’s Day, the Rose Review was published and signalled a step change in strategic and practical thinking on how the gender pay gap, identified by the annual GEM findings, can be addressed in the UK.

“Since then, great progress has been made, not least by NatWest themselves, as they meet head on some of the issues that women face in raising finance to start and grow their businesses.

“The recent British Business Bank report on Small Business Finance Markets (2019/20), again using GEM data, highlighted the scale of the task ahead.

“So on International Women’s Day in 2020, let’s renew our pledge to create a level playing field for all nascent, new and established entrepreneurs in the UK.”


Slides featuring more information

About the GEM Women’s Entrepreneurship Report

This data was collected by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, an internationally co-ordinated project used by organisations including the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. The project measured total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA) rates and established business ownership (EBO) rates amongst males and females.

About GEM

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is the largest single study of entrepreneurial activity in the world. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor is a not-for-profit academic research consortium that aims at making high quality information on global entrepreneurial activity readily available to as wide an audience as possible. Aston Business School is jointly responsible, alongside Strathclyde Business School for the UK report.

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor at Aston Business School is led by Mark Hart, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business. Professor Hart is presenting this case study on the gender entrepreneurial gap as an example of GEM data in action at the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Annual General Meeting in Miami at the beginning of the March.

Photos (click links to download)

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

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