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"We have reached a tipping point, where governments, business support organisations and female entrepreneurs themselves realise the enormous value of female enterprise to the regional and national economy. It is vital for the future success of the region that we have a clear, data-driven understanding of the needs of this community, to ensure that we maximise our, and their, chances of success and drive Inclusive growth for all.”

Prof Kiran Trehan, PVC for Enterprise, Partnerships and Engagement, University of York and Professor of Entrepreneurship

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We’d be delighted to hear from you. The Enterprise Works team can be contacted via:
+44 (0)1904 321420

Key Findings

Women entrepreneurs are at the forefront of creating innovative solutions, generating employment, and spearheading sustainable development. Despite facing unique challenges, they demonstrate resilience, creativity, and an unwavering spirit that inspires us all. This report delves into the myriad factors influencing female entrepreneurship, offering valuable insights into the barriers they face, the strategies they employ, and the ecosystems that support their success.


York & North Yorkshire (YNY) stands to create up to 165,000 jobs and could add £2.6 billion to GVA by
investing in female entrepreneurs in our region. 

The report identifies seven priority areas to better support existing and future female entrepreneurs across the region, including:

  1. Struggling with confidence.
  2. Difficult pathways to self-employment.
  3. Understanding and access to finance.
  4. Understanding and investing in customer acquisition, retention and pricing
  5. Quality and availability of various forms of local infrastructure.
  6. Quality and availability of mentorship.
  7. Managing business administration. 

Key statistics

    • There are 23,562 fewer self-employed women than men in YNY, with men nearly 2x as likely to be self-employed.
    • 94% of female-led companies in YNY are microbusinesses.
    • 63% of girls never thought about starting their own business.
    • Lack of confidence is a challenge faced by 24% of women.
    • 19% did not feel that they are taken seriously as an entrepreneur, just over half (52%) did.
    • 57% of those surveyed agree that the mental load of running a business with everyday life is a barrier to their business continuity and/or growth.
    • 73% believe that business planning is needed as a skill for a successful entrepreneur, but only 36% felt that they had this skill.