- Three in ten female business owners struggling to maintain work-life balance, despite 58% setting up their own business to make more time for their family and improve their work life balance.
- Care commitments for dependents increased disproportionately for women during the pandemic when compared to male counterparts.
- Three quarters of female entrepreneurs (74%) think tech tools – such as accountancy software or cloud software – would help them save time and free up thinking space, but 46% feel overwhelmed by choice available.
- Free advisory services such as Mastercard’s Strive UK programme are crucial in supporting women access digital tools and free up time to focus on growing their business.
London, UK, 16th March 2022: New research with small business owners from Mastercard has found that female entrepreneurs felt the impact of the pandemic more acutely than their male counterparts, but despite this are more optimistic about the future, provided they have the right digital tools to help their business grow.
The Strive Business Barometer found that female entrepreneurs are twice as likely to have started a business within the last two years during the pandemic (18%), compared to men (9%). Out of all the female entrepreneurs we surveyed, 58% said they were motivated to start a business to create a better work life balance and make more time for their families. Women were 19% more likely than men to cite this as a reason.
Despite this, data shows that women have been more impacted by the pandemic when it comes to balancing their work and home lives. The Mastercard Index of Women Entrepreneurship 2021 found that women are almost three times more likely to be balancing care and home commitments than men, and this was exacerbated during the pandemic as the additional barriers of school closures and lockdowns meant that the care time of dependents rose significantly on a day-to-day level for women. It is perhaps no surprise then that three in ten (29%) female entrepreneurs say they are struggling to maintain a work-life balance, compared to 17% of men, and one in five (22%) say the stress of work during the pandemic has put a strain on relationships with family and friends.
When considering the future success of their business, 32% of female entrepreneurs consider new technologies to be crucial and 74% believe they would help them save time and free up thinking space. But there are barriers that prevent them accessing digital tools, including uncertainty about which is best for their business (43%), too much choice when it comes to selecting which tool to use (46%), and security concerns (22%). There is a clear opportunity to support female entrepreneurs to access and use technology in a way that will help them to reach their full potential.
When asked what support would most help them grow their business, one in five (22%) said support in accessing digital tools while four in ten (38%) said free advisory services. Mastercard is hoping to address both these points with Strive UK – a programme designed to help the UK’s micro and small businesses access the support and tools they need to succeed in the digital economy. The programme has a particular focus on supporting female business owners through free guidance, helpful tools, and personalised, one-to-one coaching.
Kelly Devine, Division President, UK & Ireland at Mastercard, comments: “As history has proven time and time again, the perseverance, determination and grit of women – particularly women entrepreneurs – can never be underestimated. While the events of the past two years have been challenging for everyone, female business owners have had more to juggle than most. Despite this, they remain fiercely optimistic for the future, and it is crucial that we support them to reach their goals and fulfil their potential.”
If female entrepreneurs have the tools to succeed, they will be able to reach their £1.2 billion* growth aspirations. Women are already feeling optimistic about the future – more so than their male counterparts. More than four in ten (43%) say they will grow their business in the next five years (compared to 34% of men), while they are around 30% less likely than men to plan to downsize or close their business.
Karen Licurse, Managing Director at Digital Boost, comments: “Female business owners recognise the importance of digital tools when it comes to increasing productivity and achieving growth ambitions. But finding and implementing the right solutions can be time consuming and confusing, and end up adding to day-to-day pressures rather than lightening the load. Through the Strive UK programme, we’re delighted to provide personalised 1:1 expert support to help female leaders make the right choices for their business and seize the enormous potential that digital can bring.”
To find out more about Strive UK visit: https://www.mastercard.co.uk/en-gb/vision/priceless-causes/empower/strive.html