New report identifies change needed to unlock untapped entrepreneurship potential of women in later life

by Isabella Moore

As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day a newly published report shows that there is a willingness amongst women in later life to consider entrepreneurship, but that both perceived and very real barriers are standing in their way.

The research undertaken by Isabella Moore CBE with Aston Business School aimed to investigate why women in later life lag behind older men in business creation by identifying the motivating factors, enablers and challenges influencing entrepreneurship among women aged over 50.

The report’s findings show that older women feel a social pressure to conform to stereotypical roles, listening to what their family and friends want them to do, rather than choosing to follow a less conventional path.

Isabella’s research has also found that older women in business are often perceived more negatively than men and lack confidence in themselves, with women feeling that business support agencies take men more seriously.

Through this ground-breaking research, Isabella hopes to influence policy makers and practitioners involved in the design of business support programmes to ensure that the voice of older women is heard.

“Women in later life have untapped skills and experience, gained throughout their career, which are perfect for business ventures,” Isabella explains.

“Yet my research has shown that setting up in business is perceived by most older women as a daunting activity despite often needing to generate additional income to supplement inadequate pension provision.

“If there were more targeted government initiatives to dispel the myths about entrepreneurship, along with a greater availability of informal mentoring and confidence-building business support, older women could gain confidence in their skills and abilities and consider a new business venture as a viable option.

“It is vital that awareness is raised of the considerable wealth-creating potential of such aspiring businesswomen for our economy.”

Read the full report – Female entrepreneurship in later life: The next chapter

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