Female entrepreneurs flock to business events

Female entrepreneurship could be facing a resurgence – in Victoria at least. More than half of the attendants at the Victorian Small Business Festival were female, many of them business owners or women seeking to start a small business.

Female entrepreneurship could be facing a resurgence – in Victoria at least. More than half of the attendants at the Victorian Small Business Festival were female, many of them business owners or women seeking to start a small business.

 

Small Business Minister Joe Helper yesterday announced that more than 31,000 people attended more than 300 events in the month-long festival held in August, beating the target of 30,000 attendees and an increase of 20% on last year. Speaking at Parliament’s Queen’s Hall yesterday, Helper announced the aim of further increasing attendance to 35,000 in 2009 – as a step on the way to 50,000 by 2011.

 

Of the 31,000 attendees, 59% were women. A breakdown of those statistics shows that 53% were business owners and managers, 16% were starting a business and 20% were employees of small businesses. The remaining 11% were service providers to small businesses.

 

Despite predictions for more than a decade that female entrepreneurship was on the rise, figures from ABS, SmartCompany and other sources reveal very little increase. Only 32% of business owners are female and many of those work part time in their spouse’s business. The number of female entrepreneurs in business awards and lists has remained static for decades.

 

However while the high attendance by women at this year’s festival may indicate renewed interest in business and entrepreneurship, it could also indicate that female business owners are more keen to seek advice and look for ideas than male business owners.

 

Meanwhile the NSW Government also had a successful festival in September, with more than 40,000 people attending 380 events. Small Business September, which is in its ninth year, has seen more than half a million people pass through its events. However a spokesman for the NSW Government says figures on attendees are being analysed now and so they cannot report on the number of female participants.

 

Visit Women’s Agenda for more news and advice for professional women.

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