Work-life balance the top reason women become entrepreneurs

Work-life balance is leading driver behind the ‘marked rise’ in the number of women founding businesses across the UK, according to research from Small Business Britain. The research revealed that 39 per cent of female entrepreneurs launched their business in order to improve their work-life balance.

It was also found that 25 per cent jumped into entrepreneurship having reassessed their careers after having children, while 30 per cent became entrepreneurs to take greater control over where they worked.

Responding to the news Sue Mountford, CEO of Team ITG, commented: “Women in leadership often battle with the idea of “having it all”, balancing a career and a family while being expected to be perfect at both. The reality is that “having it all” is a myth for the vast majority – I personally felt guilty when I was at work and wasn’t at home with my child and then felt guilty when I was at home not working – and that makes having a work-life balance that works for you absolutely essential.

“Entrepreneurship offers women a powerful way to build a career that works for them, and that applies to both starting a business as well as climbing the ladder within an organisation. It is important to find yourself in an environment with flexibility and empathy to support shifting working hours, returning to work after children, and general workplace support. Technology and policy can play a key role in this, but first and foremost women must prioritise themselves and create a work-life balance that fits around their lives, and entrepreneurship is a brilliant way for women to thrive.”

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer for FDM Group, said: “Women returners continuously get overlooked in the workplace after taking a career break, especially with the rapid rate of technology evolution that can make picking up a career difficult. It is great to see the rise in female entrepreneurship, but it is also important that organisations take a proactive approach to support women returning to work, providing them with digital skills training and access to technology that can make the transition easier.”

The Rose Review 2023 recently highlighted a doubling of female entrepreneurs since 2018, with a record 151,603 businesses founded in 2022. It was also found that the number of female-led businesses grew by 16 per cent last year.

Joanna Kori, Head of People at Encompass Corporation, commented: “There is no denying that now, more than ever, achieving a good work-life balance is a priority across the workforce, so it isn’t surprising that an increasing number of women are attempting to find that by starting their own ventures.

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“Particularly when it comes to an industry such as technology, female founders and executives act as role models for the rest of the industry and the leaders of tomorrow, showing that building a successful career can be balanced with the priorities of family life and passions outside of work.

“Taking an open and proactive approach can open the door to really feeling the benefits of a positive work-life balance, no matter the circumstance. From starting a business from scratch to working as part of a large organisation, focusing on flexibility and giving people the opportunity to make work work for them is key. Flexible working policies, for example, can be central to empowering women, and all workers, to prioritise the life and wellbeing choices that are important to them while meeting their professional goals. When it comes to business, this can, in turn, positively impact productivity and staff retention.”

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024