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Opinion > OakNorth

Why it’s important to encourage female entrepreneurs

Cristina Alba Ochoa, CFO at OakNorth Bank | 14:19 Monday 19th November 2018

On Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, we honour women in business, their fearless ambition, their achievements and successes.

We applaud their grit and determination in continuing to shatter glass ceilings throughout the business world.

Female entrepreneurs drive economic growth, innovation and employment. Certainly, the impact of female entrepreneurship in emerging markets can be profound. Equipping women with the skills and support to start thriving businesses benefits us all.

Trends among women-led businesses

While women-led businesses at all development levels are more likely to be born out of necessity than male-led businesses, the majority of female entrepreneurs start businesses motivated by opportunity. That is, starting businesses where they spot an opportunity in the marketplace. 

But, despite growing numbers of female-led start-ups, these businesses are not maturing as frequently as male-led businesses. Lower investment levels and difficulties in raising finance are often cited as causes.

Female entrepreneurs have the power to transform societies

Women represent an enormous pool of talent that can drive economic growth and employment in every nation. 

Diversity in entrepreneurship breeds greater innovation. Women can recognise different needs, spot different niches and develop unique solutions. 

Supporting women in emerging markets to start businesses empowers them to lift themselves and their communities out of the poverty cycle, attain greater independence and nurture better-educated, healthier children. 

In established economies, increasingly visible female entrepreneurs serve as much-needed role models. Female leaders inspire other women to pursue their dreams. Women clearly have an appetite for business. Giving them confidence in their capability to succeed is key. 

Financing female founders

At OakNorth, we take our role as the bank for entrepreneurs – whether they be men or women – very seriously. We know there are no limits to what women are capable of achieving. 

We have a responsibility to not only improve the female entrepreneurship pipeline and get more girls and young women thinking about starting their own business one day, but also to help overcome the challenges that are preventing female entrepreneurs from applying for loans.

We are proud to have supported a number of leading female founders and leaders since our inception, including: Prue Freeman of Daisy Green Collection (pictured above), Jo Allen of Frogmore, Nicole Bremner of East Eight, Tracey Storey of ICP Nurseries, and Nicole Churchill of NetPay among others.

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