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Rural women leading entrepreneurial growth

Date 20 Nov 2006

Businesswomen in rural Britain are driving UK start-ups, according to a recent report. The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor last week released figures which revealed that women in the shires are twice as likely to ‘go it alone’ than those living in cities.

The GEM study of 25,000 adults found factors such as falling income from farming and the uptake of broadband are pushing women towards business start-up. The GEM suggests that women have an ability to spot needs in the community, and that female-run ventures are being born out of social necessity rather than a pursuit of riches.

Rebecca Harding, executive director of the GEM, said: “This isn’t just about baking pies and selling them. “It is about solving rural problems and plugging the gaps in the market that have arisen through the decline of the rural economy.”

Experts at GEM claimed activities such as bus services and local shops are increasingly coming under female ownership, despite women feeling inadequate for business. The study found women were less likely than men to think they had the skills to start a business, and less likely to think that there were good business opportunities available to them. Despite the lower confidence, women emerged as less likely than men to be rejected for bank overdrafts or unsecured loans to finance their business.

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