The number of women starting up new businesses has hit record levels, with figures increasing by 28 per cent since 2000.
Research by Barclays shows that the number of businesses ran by women grew from 117,000 in 2000 to 150,000 in 2004.
In addition, eight out of ten people polled believe it is now easier for women to start up.
Findings also show that 60 per cent of female ran start up businesses are in the retail and leisure sectors. In particular the area with highest growth rate are health related businesses, increasing by 180 per cent during the four year period.
Louise Fowler, head of marketing for Barclays Small Businesses, said, “With a staggering 28 per cent increase in business start-ups, today’s female entrepreneur continues to demonstrate how she can successfully contribute to UK businesses and the economy.”
The main driving forces among women seem to be a greater desire to be their own boss (39 per cent), as well as the thought of greater independence (15 per cent).
Fowler said, “As more women step away from traditional lifestyles such as marriage, or to have independence, our research proves that this generation of women clearly are more confident and able to successfully manage their business.”
On a regional basis the South West led the way with 20,600 female entrepreneurs, equalling 15 per thousand women.
This was followed by East Anglia (6,700) and the North West (19,700), both equalling 11 per thousand women starting up their own business.
However, there is a greater proportion of women encountering major hurdles when starting up a business than their male counterparts.
Almost a quarter are concerned with issues such as childcare provision and striking a healthy work/life balance, an unsurprising figure as 30 per cent of female entrepreneurs combine work with childcare.
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