Today is International Women’s Day and its theme this year is ‘Make it Happen’
This message can apply to a million different things but I’d like to shine a light on female entrepreneurship.
- Women account for 17% of business owners (the figure is much higher in the US).
- Men are twice as likely to be entrepreneurially active as women.
- If the UK could achieve the same levels of female entrepreneurship as the US, Britain would gain three quarters of a million more businesses.
The vast majority of our businesses are owned and run by men. And this, in large part, is attributed to one little word – confidence.
According to London Business School research, fear of failure holds a third of women back from starting a business.
Of course there are other factors like maternity to consider. Women will always have the difficult decision as to when to pause their career to have children.
This warrants a whole blog post of its own, but to be clear, having children needn’t hold women back.
I had my first child five years into running Pai and arguably it’s easier to do when you have your own company than when you work for someone else’s.
I build my work day around my child. I love my family but I love my business too and I do a lot of juggling so I can nurture both.
It’s the life I chose and it’s the life I want.
For all those women thinking about starting a business. I say, Make It Happen.
Taking the first step is the hardest part. After that, take each day as it comes and view each challenge along the way in isolation – rather than collectively, as a giant storm cloud on the horizon.
Women worry about things before they happen. Men don’t. My father always used to say ‘well, let’s cross that bridge when it happens, but we’re not there yet.’
Later this month, I will be working with a mentoring programme called Founders4Schools – an organisation that invites business founders into schools to inspire pupils to start their own businesses.
I want to encourage girls to explore science, engineering and technology subjects at school with a view to careers in manufacturing.
It’s a hugely diverse and misunderstood industry but it’s also the ultimate creative industry. You conceive a product idea and then create it. What could be more satisfying than that?
I will never forget the first time I had my first Pai products bottled, boxed and in my hot hands ready to sell. That memory will live with me forever.
Think big, dream big and believe in yourself. Be bold. #MakeItHappen