A NEW report from the University of York says that if women entrepreneurs were better supported to start businesses in the North Yorkshire region they could generate nearly 165,000 jobs and provide a £2.6bn boost to the local economy.

The study revealed that with productivity levels in the region trailing behind the national average, there are more than 23,500 potential women entrepreneurs that could create business opportunities.

Inspired by the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, the study prioritised the firsthand experiences of women entrepreneurs in York and North Yorkshire. The report highlights their unique challenges and proposes inclusive policy changes to foster an environment where women’s entrepreneurial endeavours can thrive.

Researchers showed that 79% of women entrepreneurs in the region have ambitions to grow, while 31% do not have access to, or know where to look, for finance. One in five women surveyed did not feel they were taken seriously as an entrepreneur, and 63% of girls have never considered starting their own business.


Professor Kiran Trehan, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Enterprise, Partnerships and Engagement at the University of York, who led the research, said: “This report seeks to serve as a catalyst for change and present the foundation for a roadmap to more inclusive and prosperous growth across the region.

“We call upon policymakers and key stakeholders to help crystalise and drive the policy considerations identified by the women themselves.”

The report outlines seven priority areas to better support existing and future female entrepreneurs across the region, including: building confidence; pathways to self-employment; understanding and access to finance; understanding and investing in customer acquisition, retention and pricing; local infrastructure; mentorship; and business administration.

Andrea Morrison, from Andrea Morrison Coaching, and FSB York and North Yorkshire Volunteer Area Lead, said: “This report shows the extent of the barriers which affect women in business in our region and the enormous potential impact and benefits of enhancing our existing regional support.

“By working with, and listening to, our region’s women entrepreneurs and business owners we have identified a pathway to realise this impact and enable a more prosperous and equal region.”

The study was carried out as part of a collaboration between Enterprise Works at the University of York, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and the Yorkshire & Humber Policy Engagement and Research Network (Y-PERN).

Enterprise Works (www.york.ac.uk/enterprise-works) helps individuals from any community, and businesses to start up and grow. It believes the power of enterprise and entrepreneurship can drive social change and deliver better economic and social outcomes for all.