- Glenda Stone is chief executive and founder of Aurora, a recruitment advertising and market intelligence company, and co-chairs the UK Women's Enterprise Taskforce established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. The opinions expressed are her own. -
Most venture capital and angel investment tend to go to a specific breed of entrepreneur - innovative, well networked, intelligent, confident ... male. Is this the result of deep-rooted discrimination or is this simply an issue of supply and demand? Women-owned businesses are largely under-capitalised and this leads to inhibited growth.
Access to finance is cited by numerous sources as the greatest barrier to the growth of women's enterprise but "access" is only the consequence and "education" is the cause. More women need to participate in business education addressing business growth, technology, revenue models, and securing correct types of finance.
Globally women-led businesses receive less than 5 percent of venture capital. Women business owners also seek less bank loans and overdraft facilities. Regardless of country, women are more frugal - they do more with less, for less. Is this a flattering positive or is this a naive flaw that perpetuates women's relegation to micro enterprise?
I co-chair a taskforce established by Prime Minister Gordon Brown. We advise on strategy relative to increasing the quantity and scalability of women's enterprise. If women started and grew businesses at the same rate as their male counterparts, the economy would experience greater wealth and job creation and, needless to say, generate further substantial tax revenues for government.