Franchising is a great option for women thinking of self employment

Although there are many high profile female entrepreneurs statistics show that there are still fewer self-employed women than men.

This year at the National Franchise Exhibition there will once again be an area dedicated to women in franchising, which will include high-profile business women discussing franchising from a female perspective. The Women in Franchising Zone has been established with the aim of educating and assisting women who are thinking of becoming franchisees.

Although there is no more risk for women in become self-employed than men, they are still less likely to take the plunge. According to research from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor in 2004 3.1 per cent of the female adult population are involved in independent start-ups compared to 6 per cent of men. With job related start-ups the equivalent percentages are 1.3 to 2.6. The same research shows that 6.7 per cent of women compared to 15.8 per cent of men own or manage their own business.

It is clear, therefore, that significantly fewer women establish their own business than men, even though more self-employed women would be better for the economy. In a speech made in 2005, Gordon Brown said that if the UK could achieve the same levels of female entrepreneurship as the USA then Britain would gain three quarters of a million more businesses.

Speaking at the 2nd annual Prowess Conference in 2004 Jacqui Smith, the then Minister for Women and Equality, announced that there are roughly 620,000 majority women owned businesses in the UK, which generates about £130 billion turnover. She also stated that if women started businesses at the same rate as men, there would be 150,000 extra start-ups each year.

There are strong motivations for women to own their own businesses, such as the flexible working hours and the ability to make a good income working part-time, however many are put off by the fear of failure and accumulating debt. With its high success rate franchising offers a great option for women and some, like the Rosemary Conley Diet and Fitness Clubs, are aimed specifically at women franchisees.

Reported by Derin Clark