Entrepreneur

Three In Four U.K. Women Can't Name A Successful Female Entrepreneur – Forbes


Only one in four women in the U.K. can name a successful female entrepreneur, a newly-released global study has found.

Research from French champagne brand Veuve Clicquot looked at attitudes about female entrepreneurship among more than 10,000 people for its first international women entrepreneurship barometer.

Respondents included both men and women, entrepreneurs and general population, across five of the countries and regions in which the brand holds its annual Business Woman Awards: the U.K., France, South Africa, Japan and Hong Kong.

A majority of the population surveyed across the various countries and territories believe it is important for female entrepreneurs to have female role models⁠—in fact, a majority of women find having a role model inspiring to be successful in business, but only in South Africa can women name both male and female entrepreneurs in similar percentages.

In the U.K., nearly 40% of the women surveyed could name successful male entrepreneurs but only 25% could do the same for female entrepreneurs. Among entrepreneurs themselves, knowledge of successful female entrepreneurs increased to 35% among women and an even slightly higher percentage (38%) among men.

Veuve Clicquot presented the results at a day-long event in Paris on June 11, inviting various French businesswomen to discuss certain key findings of the survey and to increase the visibility of successful female entrepreneurs.

Guest of honor was the American tennis star and entrepreneur Venus Williams, who not only was featured in Forbes in 2017 as one of the top ten highest-paid tennis players in the world, but she also owns her own athletic apparel brand, EleVen, and founded the interior design company V*Starr Interiors. 

“Being an entrepreneur is sometimes scary, is never easy, but it’s always fun. I love that thrill,” she said.

Williams compared being an athlete to being an entrepreneur, crediting sports for teaching her to confront challenges and learn from her mistakes and defeats.

“You have to allow those mistakes to make you bigger,” she said, adding: “The biggest barrier is yourself.”

Williams had a point. According to the Veuve Clicquot research, despite an equal number of U.K. men and women⁠—about a third of the total population surveyed⁠—expressing the desire to be entrepreneurs, only 19% of women call themselves entrepreneurs, compared to 36% of men.

The report highlighted a number of structural and cultural barriers hindering female entrepreneurs that were common across geographies and cultures, such as balancing work and family life, access to funding, and concerns about how their personalities and even choices of clothes may be perceived and criticised by others.

A majority of women surveyed across the world also named risk perception and fear of failure as elements preventing them from becoming an entrepreneur.

Williams encouraged women to embrace the battle rather than shying away from it: “Taking that risk is something every woman can do,” she said.

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