This article © Sky News.
More women started up new businesses in the last 12 months than in the previous year – with beauty, cleaning and cake-making among the most popular choices, according to a survey.
Research for online insurance broker Simply Business found a 12% increase in female-run start-ups this year, with women now accounting for 37% of all start-up businesses, up from 33% last year.
The report is based on data from 117,000 start-up business quote requests since the start of the year.
Creative and service-driven businesses are among the most popular, with cleaners, beauticians and hairdressers claiming the top three spots.
Cake-makers and market traders also feature in the top 10 though, suggesting female entrepreneurs are cashing in on an emerging trend for thrift in the economic downturn.
Melissa Morgan started out selling her cupcakes from a market stall in Greenwich.
She sold so many that in April this year she opened her first shop in Brixton, and now employs seven staff.
She had no start-up grant, no bank loans, and no previous experience of the catering industry – hers is a business built on cupcakes and determination.
She told Sky News: “Every single cupcake we sold went into building this shop with no start-up money.
“I rocked up to Greenwich market one day with my cakes, laid out my market stall and oh my goodness when I sold those three dozen cupcakes I was on top of the world.
“Now we make thousands and thousands and thousands each week of cake, so it’s been quite a trajectory over the last 12 months, I’ll tell you that much.
“I think it’s that exhaustion that you feel when you’re running a business: no one cares what you’re doing, and people say: ‘Oh you can’t really do that, oh this is going to happen, you’ve got to worry about that’ – take it on board, make sure you’re doing everything right legally, make sure your customers like what you’re doing and just keep doing it.”
With unemployment rising and the downturn hitting women disproportionately hard, it seems female entrepreneurs are opting to do it for themselves, bringing a distinctly female approach to business.
Melissa said: “Well, I wouldn’t like to say that women can be a bit stubborn at times, but i know I can.
“My stubbornness and my determination to prove to everyone that I could do this spurned me on. I wanted to show people that you can come from nothing and start from absolutely nothing and build your own business off your own back.
“I also have passion, and I think that when women are passionate about something – whether it be a hobby, a business, or someone they love – it doesn’t matter, that passion is going drive them and I think that’s a uniquely female trait.”
Michelle Mone left school at 15 with no qualifications, in the east end of Glasgow.
She now co-owns multi-million pound designer lingerie firm Ultimo.
She told Sky News: “It’s confidence – you can be a successful mum, you can be a successful wife, and be successful in your career as well – it all comes down to being exceptionally organised, and being really focused.
“I run my house like a business because I’m not there when I should be there so it’s the only way that I can make sure that it runs really successfully without me, but you know i think women have great qualities and once women get their confidence there’s nothing stopping us.”
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