FEMALE entrepreneurs are dominating the high street according to experts – and one Ryedale town is a prime example of women driving economic growth into town centres.
Data used in a report from the Federation of Small Businesses showed that the UK’s high streets have seen a dramatic increase in the number of women starting up small businesses compared to 20 years ago, when just 24 per cent of businesses were owned by women.
A total of 49.5 per cent of small firms set up within the past two years in retail, hotel, catering and leisure industries are now owned by women.
Helmsley has hailed a new era where 60 per cent of businesses are run by women.
Carolyn Frank, who has owned Libby Butler Jewellers since 2009, is one in an increasing number of female business owners in Helmsley helping to drive profit in to towns with small businesses.
“Helmsley is a great place to have a business. I feel far more support here from the other female business owners than I ever did from my colleagues in multinational companies,” she said.
Carolyn, 36, who became a business owner after working in the motor industry, said: “We have definitely had lots of support. We have set up a business group over the past two years, Helmsley In Business, which now has 46 businesses as members.
"The difference here is that it is all independent business or small businesses as opposed to bigger shops you see on most high streets – that’s why Helmsley is so popular.”
Research from the FSB also highlighted that female business owners were less likely to take financial risks, borrowing an average of £18,700 for their business compared to men who borrowed an average of £28,800.
John Allan, national chairman of the federation, welcomed the report. He said: “How fantastic to see more women in business and in particular taking a leading role on our high streets.
“We are witnessing a welcome change, with more women entrepreneurs establishing business than at any time before. We really need to keep small businesses at the heart of the local community generating wealth, employment and opportunity.”
Last year, business owners in Helmsley were concerned that potential plans to bring a Tesco Express store to the town would damage trade for independent businesses.
However in December it was announced that the plans would be put on hold after calls were made for an independent consultation to take place.