More women in Edinburgh run their own business than any other mainland Scottish local authority area, but rural regions lead the way with the highest levels of female entrepreneurship, according to new research.
Analysis of Office for National Statistics figures released today by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) shows there are 9,700 women who work for themselves in the capital, almost a third more than in Glasgow, which has 7,400 self-employed women.
Proportionally, rural Scotland boasts the highest levels of female entrepreneurs, with more than one in ten working age women running their own business in Moray (10.5 per cent) and Dumfries and Galloway (10.4 per cent), the largest shares of any mainland council.
The equivalent figure is 8.6 per cent in Aberdeenshire, 8.3 per cent in Argyll and Bute, and 8.1 per cent in Angus, while the Scottish average is just 5.4 per cent.
There are a total of 94,900 self-employed women north of the Border, but Scottish men are still almost twice as likely to be their own boss than their female counterparts, with 183,300 working on a self-employed basis, said the FSB.
Pearl Hamilton, a Moray-based business owner and member of FSB’s Scotland policy unit, said: “Female entrepreneurship is far higher in rural Scotland than in our cities. That’s not only because people move out to the country to start up, but also large private and public employers are few and far between in many rural areas.
“Decision-makers in Scotland’s biggest city might need to ask why the capital is proving to be more attractive to women who want to set out on their own. For every woman in business for herself in Scotland, there are two men. That’s not good enough in 2018.”
Research by Women’s Enterprise Scotland shows women led-businesses contribute more than £5 billion towards the Scottish economy. However, if the number of women-led businesses matched those led by men, this figure would increase to £13bn.
Hamilton said the FSB had lobbied governments north and south of the Border for additional support for female business owners.
She added: “We’ve argued for extra maternity help for self-employed women and more enterprise education in Scotland’s schools. But we also need to celebrate the contribution of women who work for themselves – no matter the scale of their operations.”
FSB published the analysis ahead of its annual dinner which will host some 300 politicians and small business owners, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel on Thursday 15 November.
Adrian Innes, head of origination at LendingCrowd, sponsor of the FSB’s event, said: “Small businesses are the powerhouse of the Scottish economy and FSB Scotland’s annual dinner highlights the vital contribution they make across all sectors.”