A report released on International Women’s Day this year said that 6% of UK women run their own businesses compared with 15% in Canada, almost 11% in the US and more than 9% in Australia and the Netherlands. The government commissioned report also stated that “the UK economy could be given a £250bn boost if women entrepreneurs were given the opportunity to develop new businesses on the same scale as men.”
Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, examined whether there were unfair obstacles preventing women setting up businesses. Mr Jenrick said: “Today’s striving businesswomen are too often facing barriers to setting up and growing their own enterprise. These barriers don’t just hold back women, they hold back every single one of us.”
So what are the barriers? Clare Groombridge, founder of South Coast Social, one of the largest social media agencies on the South Coast which is celebrating its third birthday, believes female entrepreneurs do face a different set of challenges to their male counterparts. “I think it’s just a different playing field,” she says. “Ultimately I do believe women can have it all but perhaps just not at the same time.”
Groombridge founded South Coast Social after having her daughter and quite naturally had to juggle motherhood and business. As she explains: “I made it work for me – I essentially had to create a way of working which meant I could give the business my undivided attention when required but also spent valuable time with my daughter. It’s all about being extremely organised, using every offer of support and taking advice when it’s offered as well.”
One of the biggest obstacles Groombridge says she had to face was employing her first staff member: “I think employing for the first time can be hard – you want to attract people that have the same belief in the company ethos, culture and what we’re trying to achieve. With it also comes a huge sense of responsibility. Luckily, I now have a small but brilliant team behind me, which is growing – social media experts that are passionate about digital marketing and delivering exemplary customer service to our clients.” The company now also incorporates flexible working hours, a ‘do good day’ and staff birthdays given as paid days off.
To find out more their website South Coast Social