One of the main drivers for mums (and dads) to set up a new business is to cope with the school run

around 9 in 10 working mums who started their own businesses did so to achieve greater control over when and where they workA survey published as part of National Women’s Enterprise Week suggests that around 9 in 10 working mums who started their own businesses did so to achieve greater control over when and where they work.  National Women’s Enterprise Week is an initiative that looks to empower and support female entrepreneurialism. The research, which surveyed 500 UK entrepreneurs, sets out to highlight the importance of flexibility and autonomy as people juggle managing work and family life amid rising childcare costs.

The poll also found that 73 percent of female entrepreneurs started their business to have greater flexibility with childcare; this compared to 52 percent of fathers who are business owners. More than a third (69 percent) of business owners founded their company to create a better work-life balance and restore their mental health (73 percent women vs 66 percent men).

These factors ranked higher than seeking better pay (57 percent av: 50 percent female, 64 percent male) and career progression (48 percent av: 41 percent female, 56 percent male). While money and progression were more important to male business owners, both female and male entrepreneurs were hungry for independence with 84 percent of women and 82 percent of men setting up their company to be their own boss.

Business owners say the best things about being an entrepreneur are full autonomy to do the work they want to do (57 percent), working the hours they want to (56 percent) from the location they want to (53 percent), and achieving a deeper sense of satisfaction from their work (44 percent). All these factors rank considerably higher than ‘making more money’ than in their previous job, with only a quarter (25 percent) saying this is one of the best things about being a business owner. With these benefits in mind, 3 in 4 (75 percent) entrepreneurs said they would recommend owning a business as a career path.

More than half of women (53 percent) lack confidence in setting up and running their own business (vs 48 percent men). Since becoming business owners, a greater number of male entrepreneurs feel more respected (36 percent), than female (30 percent); additionally women also feel less successful (28 percent vs 39 percent).

Perhaps in part due to this insecurity, women (35 percent) are more likely than men (28 percent) to set up their business with a partner. Over half of women (51 percent) agreed that while they had the interest and desire to set up their own business, it was someone else that gave them the self-belief that they could do it (vs 48 percent men).

A possible contributing factor to male confidence in business ownership is the community they receive support from. Over half (52 percent) of men benefit from a community of business owners where they share tips and advice, with 46 percent of women saying that they do. Similarly, almost half of men (48 percent) have had a mentor throughout the process of setting up their business, with just over 2 in 5 (42 percent) women working with a mentor.