Of all the figures for female entrepreneurial activity, the ones for location are quite striking. A recent report underlined the fact that there are more women starting up businesses in rural areas (5.1 per cent) than in urban (3.4 per cent) or suburban (3.8 per cent) places.
A successful rural company is graphics design company, Wicked Poppy Designs, run by Sally Roydhouse. As a former advertising woman, she was familiar with what made a successful design and 1997 saw her set up on her own. For her, a rural setting was better and the office space was much more cost effective. She says that there’s “so much bad design around that it stands to reason that there’s always a big section of the market you can improve upon”. For Sally, attitudes towards her being a female entrepreneur are markedly different from those of previous ‘proper’ jobs; in fact, in some of her past jobs, Sally was “sometimes seen as a second-class citizen” whereas now she feels more equal.
For the first time in the four-year period of comparative data in the UK, the total amount of female entrepreneurial activity has gone up by 3.1 per cent to 46 per cent but the government intends to improve on this further. The aim is to increase the level of newly self-employed women significantly by 2008, according to one report. The proposal to get more women into traditionally male-dominated industries such as construction and manufacturing, seems to be working already with successes such as Women Builders, the female-only construction company.
All in all, the signs are very encouraging for even more women becoming more and more prominent as entrepreneurs.