A generation of business women “lead-hers” is emerging in the UK, with rising entrepreneurial ambition amongst young women set to narrow the business ownership gap.
This is according to new research from Starling Bank, which questioned successive generations – including today’s teens – about their entrepreneurial ambitions – and projected when we might reach parity.
Anne Boden, CEO at Starling Bank, said: “The number of business accounts held by women has grown in the past year and we expect that trend to continue. This study supports the theory that entrepreneurship among women is growing.”
Two thirds of young women aged 15-21 expect to be running their own business in the next 5-10 years (compared to a similar 63% of young men). This follows years of rising ambition among women.
Secret to success
Encouragement is key when it comes to today’s younger generation. More young women are encouraged by their parents and at school to think about running their own business and being their own boss. This is in stark contrast to the oldest generations of women, who weren’t encouraged into entrepreneurship.
Most young women don’t believe their gender will be seen as an issue by others when it comes to running their own business and nearly half feel that they have a better chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur than previous generations did.
Inspirational role models
Young women are also taking inspiration from women in the public eye, with Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham and JK Rowling most mentioned. More than two thirds of young women feel that there are plenty of entrepreneurial role models to aspire to.
Young women are more likely than young men to draw inspiration from social media channels, with four in 10 (40%) saying they have been inspired to become an entrepreneur in the future by role models on Instagram, Youtube and TikTok.
Equally, today’s business women are inspiring their younger relatives. More than a third (42%) of young women said their mum, sister, aunt or grandmother have inspired their entrepreneurial ambitions. And young women are also more likely to be inspired by their mothers too, while paternal inspiration is equal between genders.
Young women also have different business goals compared to today’s young men. Creating a business with a positive impact on society, or ensuring their business is truly ethical is a more important aim for young women than men. But earning potential and the ability to be their own boss is also a significant factor. Young women are also more inclined to share the ownership and leadership of a company with a business partner.
Hurdles to overcome
The challenges that teenagers believe they need to overcome include having strong enough leadership skills and building their confidence. The latter is the biggest differentiator between young women and men – with 21% of young women not confident enough in their ability to run a business, compared to just 11% of young men.
Elisha Rai, co-founder at Folc English Rose, a wine maker, and a Starling Business customer, comments: “A big hurdle to overcome as a woman entrepreneur can be your own confidence. That voice that constantly tells you you’re not experienced enough, business-minded enough, or tough enough. Yes it will be hard, and sacrifices will need to be -made, but if you’re truly passionate about what you want to do it is all worth it!”.