Are more Australian women becoming entrepreneurs?

The country's entrepreneurial spirit is still alive and kicking. National Australia Bank (NAB) research from last year revealed one-third of Australians have start-up dreams.

But is starting a business still a male-dominated field, or are more Australian women becoming entrepreneurs? Let's see if there's still a gender divide and what the biggest hurdles are for female entrepreneurs.

How many Australian entrepreneurs are female?

The bad news is that women still haven't quite reached gender parity when it comes to starting a new business.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data for an Office of Women report showed that 34 per cent of businesses were female-operated in 2015. This corresponds with a recent NAB report that found 35 per cent of SME owners are female.

However, the good news is that more Australian women are becoming entrepreneurs. The Start-Up Muster 2016 report revealed that females founded just 16.1 per cent of new businesses in 2014, but this had climbed to 23.5 per cent last year and was expected to rise to 31 per cent by this year.

NAB revealed that millennials are spearheading gender equality in the start-up space, as 50 per cent of SME owners aged between 18 and 35 are women.

Biggest hurdles for female entrepreneurs in Australia

Are women better at running businesses then men? Research suggests they are, according to Sofia Merlo, co-CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management.

"They are more ambitious and have been more successful than their male counterparts," she told Fortune, highlighting her company's data as proof.

The BNP Paribas 2016 Global Entrepreneurs Report showed that female-led companies reported 13 per cent higher revenues than those with men at the helm.

So what hurdles do female entrepreneurs in Australia face?

  • Lack of confidence: More than half of men say they have 'good' or 'excellent' entrepreneurial skills, while just 41 per cent of women said the same;
  • Fewer role models: Women only comprise 21 per cent of senior leadership roles at ASX 200 companies, according to Chief Executive Women data;
  • Poor funding: Figures from Pitchbook showed that just 2 per cent of global venture capital went to female founders last year.

Starting a new business in Australia is always challenging, and research shows it's even more difficult for female entrepreneurs. So why not seek help with your business development strategies from a professional accounting firm?

Contact WMC Accounting to learn more about our comprehensive range of business services.

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