'Build Back Better' for women's enterprise post-Covid-19 or risk "catastrophic economic impact" says new report
Current UK enterprise policy fails women entrepreneurs, jeopardising millions of businesses, jobs and economic recovery across UK regions say leading UK voices in women’s enterprise who have come together in a new report.
Dr Lorna Treanor, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Nottingham University Business School, is among a group of women in business and academia demanding more support for women’s enterprise to avoid a ‘catastrophic’ social and economic end to 2020.
Gaps in Covid-19 enterprise support for women
Dr Treanor is a member of The Women's Enterprise Policy Group (WEPG), which has today (11 August) launched a ‘Framework of Policy Actions to Build Back Better for Women’s Enterprise’ aiming to address the gaps in Covid-19 enterprise support for women.
Evidence from the report indicates that women face a “tsunami” of job losses and business closures, unless the Government develops enterprise policy that is productive and fair for women.
Dr Treanor said:
Economically, COVID-19 has impacted upon women and women-owned businesses most severely. Research also shows that the policies being pursued have set gender equality back decades. These are not just women-owned businesses being affected; these are households and families that have lost income and face horrendous stress due to the precarity of these businesses.
The SME community are also very aware that Brexit may introduce further shocks. It is crucial that enterprise policy is formulated in a gender aware manner now, not only to assist women entrepreneurs but to assist economic recovery more widely.
The report outlines how current policies have failed to reflect the extra challenges that women entrepreneurs face - including childcare responsibilities, gender bias and access to finance – and how the Government has failed to introduce measures to facilitate their survival and growth.
The WEPG is a national coalition of leading women entrepreneurs, researchers, business support providers and social entrepreneurs from across the UK. The group develops policy calls based on the latest evidence and years of experience supporting women’s enterprise creation and growth.
The group is now urging the Chancellor to bring them to the policy table to help shape policy that ‘Builds Back Better’ for women entrepreneurs, for the economy, and for society.
Six key policy actions
The WEPG have put forward its framework of policy actions to Government which they say will ‘build back better’ for women’s enterprise. These asks are around six key areas covering income protection; grants, loans and investment; valuing women-led sectors; business support; business start-up; and investing in a care infrastructure.
Members of the WEPG include representatives from some of the country’s leading academic institutions, including the University of Liverpool, Manchester Metropolitan University, the University of Birmingham, the University of Nottingham, the University of Newcastle and the University of South Wales. Alongside international representation from Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC) in Saudi Arabia.
Representation from women’s business support comes from The Women’s Organisation, Women’s Enterprise Scotland, Women in Business NI, ICE, GrowBiz and Radiant and Brighter CIC.
More information is available from Dr Lorna Treanor, Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation in the Haydn Green Institute at Nottingham University Business School.
Posted on Tuesday 13th October 2020