Women in Enterprise Taskforce from the FSB

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The FSB hopes to offer support to female entrepreneurs (image credit: iStock/Yuri_Arcurs)

The Federation of Small Business (FSB) has announced the launch of its new Women in Enterprise Taskforce, which the body hopes will provide a welcome boost to gender equality in the workplace in the UK.

Launched in response to the organisation's new report 'Women in Enterprise: The Untapped Potential', the taskforce will aim to support female entrepreneurs and business owners up and down the country in the years ahead.

According to the FSB's report, women within the UK corporate sector face many of the same challenges as their male counterparts in terms of the day-to-day running of their company, including cash flow issues (42 per cent) and difficulty accessing finance (25 per cent).

However, a significant proportion of respondents also highlighted a range of concerns that are more acutely felt by female business leaders, such as achieving a healthy work-life balance (40 per cent), less credibility for their firm (37 per cent) and, in general, lower overall confidence (22 per cent).

In total, the study spoke to 1,900 female business leaders from across the UK.

Responding to the findings, FSB diversity policy chair Helen Walbey commented: "Women-led smaller businesses already contribute over £75 billion to the UK economy. But less than one in five (18 per cent) of businesses are majority run by women.

"If women were to set up businesses and grow them at the same rate as men, we would see a huge boost to growth and prosperity in this country. In fact, the government estimates it could add £600 billion to the economy."

Ms Walbey went on to add that "everyone should have the same chance to succeed in business".

She noted that the government and the business world must recognise the importance of a diverse, dynamic and vibrant corporate sector. It is therefore imperative that female business leaders are given the same opportunities to pursue their business aims as their male counterparts.

Addressing and tearing down the current barriers that many women feel are holding them back from achieving these aims should therefore be a top priority.

In response, the FSB's new taskforce will aim to combat many of the issues faced by women in today's society, with a keen focus on raising confidence.

The taskforce will also aim to tackle issues of discrimination - which the FSB's data shows affects more than a third (34 per cent) of female business leaders - as well as offering support in developing new skills, like online and digital skills, as well as those in business strategy and marketing.