New research reveals women-owned businesses contribute estimated £105bn to UK economy
- New research from the Federation of Small Businesses, involving the University of Portsmouth, reveals an estimated 40 per cent increase in UK economic contribution and a 26 per cent increase in employment generated by women-owned businesses.
- Over 11 per cent of private sector employment is now calculated to be generated by women-owned businesses, for women-led businesses the figure being even higher at nearly 14 per cent.
- Diversity in manufacturing and higher growth sectors is still a challenge, with a reduction in the proportion of women-owned firms in these sectors.
A new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), ‘Supporting Women’s Enterprise in the UK: The Economic Case’, shows that women-owned businesses are now calculated to contribute a staggering £105bn to the UK economy, an increase of 40 per cent since comprehensive data was last collected and analysed. This equates to women-owned businesses contributing £36k GVA for each person they employ, 6.3 per cent of total UK GVA.
This research, published by FSB, is important, both because it highlights areas where more and better data is required to more fully explore the importance of female-owned and led SMEs to the UK, and also because the available data suggests this importance is growing.
The University of Portsmouth contribution to the study was to identify the gaps in current data available and highlight ways in which these gaps might be filled. Using the limited data that was available, with appropriate assumptions attached, Portsmouth researchers also provided estimates for the value of women-owned and women-led small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to the UK economy in terms of both Gross Value Added (GVA) and employment. They were also able to provide some estimations for these values for the constituent nations of the UK, as well as a sectoral breakdown.
This research reinforces the need therefore for more, and better, data and policy to provide the support and resources women-owned business can use to further strengthen their beneficial economic and social impact.
Lina Bourdon, FSB’s Women in Enterprise lead, said: “Developing and supporting women’s enterprise is proven to be critically important for economic prosperity. The Government must now address this untapped potential with a range of suitable measures, such as career advice, role models, and access to business support and finance.”
Developing and supporting women’s enterprise is proven to be critically important for economic prosperity. The Government must now address this untapped potential with a range of suitable measures, such as career advice, role models, and access to business support and finance.
This is concerning because manufacturing is a relatively high profit and productivity sector. A larger proportion of women-owned businesses are in the care sector which has low profit.
The ‘Supporting Women’s Enterprise in the UK: The Economic Case’ report is being launched by FSB at Facebook’s Community Boost event taking place on 13 and 14 November at London’s Millbank Tower. Across the two days, attendees will be invited to join a series of free-to-enter workshops and talks designed to help boost their digital skills, expand their networks and grow their businesses both here in the UK and further afield.
Our research shows that women-owned businesses are providing critical employment in communities across the UK and now represent 11 per cent of total private sector employment. We must ensure that this momentum continues and we are calling for economic development organisations to step forward and provide the needs based support that these businesses need to continue growing.