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The number of women running their own business has doubled since 2007, a national report by the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry shows. “It is clear that businesswomen and female entrepreneurs are growing in numbers,” AWCCI chief executive Yolanda Vega says. “While information is available on women in leadership and management roles, until now little data has been available about the 700,000-plus women who run businesses.”
Professor at the University of Sydney Business School and AWCCI board member, Marian Baird, says the report will help shape policy and programs to maximise the contribution of female business owners to national economic growth. “It is a much-needed addition to our knowledge of women as entrepreneurs,” Baird says. “The results give us a clearer insight into the working lives of this important group of women.”
Seventy-eight per cent of the 3000 women who took part in AWCCI’s study had left employment in middle or senior management to start their own business and 42 per cent started with less than $5000. More than half say they currently require capital to grow.
In the US, the number of women-owned businesses has grown by 42 per cent in the past decade. “Australia is heading in a similar direction,” Vega says. “We believe the trend will continue and AWCCI will closely monitor it to ensure women are included in business programs and policy decision-making.”