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Steady growth in UK businesses owned by women

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Lucy Harley-McKeown
·2-min read
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Smiling entrepreneur with female coworker looking away in meeting at workplace
According to new data released by SME insurer Simply Business, more women than ever are running their own small business. Photo: Getty

The number of small businesses led by women has increased by nearly a fifth in the last five years, with an 18% growth since 2017.

That's according to new data released by SME insurer Simply Business, which found that that growth outpaced the uptick in male-owned small businesses, which grew by 14% over the same period.

Analysis of over 500,000 small businesses shows that while there are still a greater number of SMEs owned by men, female small business owners are rising at a significantly faster rate. The amount of women taking out policies increased the most within home baking, takeaway food and courier businesses.

Despite the growth, female-owned SMEs still only account for 29% of all the small businesses in the UK.

READ MORE: One in four women 'suffered income fall' due to COVID-19

Bea Montoya, COO at Simply Business, said: “Small businesses are vital to our economy and will be at the heart of our collective recovery from the pandemic.

"Our data shows that increasingly it’s women who are leading the way. And given the number of female-owned small businesses continues to rise consistently year-on-year, we can only expect this to continue into 2022 and beyond."

This analysis comes alongside recent data that showed that women are still under-represented in senior roles in finance, suggesting that carving out their own business might be a more reliable way to get into a leadership position.

Figures from Equileap's Gender Equality Report & Ranking 2020 indicate women represent 50% of the workforce in global financial companies, but on average 26% of women are represented on the board of directors, 18% on the executive team and 28% in senior management.

READ MORE: Women still underrepresented in senior roles at financial institutions

The report looked at the gender balance of firms at four levels — board of directors, executive, senior management and workforce — and assesses the progression of each gender to senior levels of the company.

Women represent 25% of board members globally, 17% of executives, 24% of senior management, and 37% of the workforce.

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