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Perceptions of women entrepreneurs are improving—even if reality is lagging behind

Stereotypes of an 'entrepreneur' are finally starting to change.

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Younger women are most likely to be identified as entrepreneurs by the general public, a study by Starling Bank and Opinium has found.

The study showed 2,000 people images of all kinds of ages and genders, and the overwhelming majority (70 per cent) agreed that an image of a young (30-something) woman most looked like the ‘archetypal entrepreneur’ to them.

This is at odds with the reality of British business, where an average business owner is a 51-year-old man and where women own just 27 per cent of companies.

Middle-aged men were viewed as ‘archetypal entrepreneurs’ by just 57 per cent of respondents.

“It’s encouraging to see that assumptions about business ownership are changing and that many rightly view women as entrepreneurial as men,” said Starling’s CEO and founder Anne Boden.

“At Starling, we’ve witnessed this first-hand with thousands of women of all ages launching businesses. But the reality now needs to catch up with perceptions, and the study also reminds us that some outdated views of women in business still very much exist.”

Impressively the study also found that self-confidence in business skills was nearly equal among men and women (32 per cent and 31 per cent respectively), and 18-34-year-old women were more likely to see themselves running their own businesses than young men (48 per cent to 43 per cent).

Starling said its account holder statistics are reflecting these changing perceptions, with the proportion of its business accounts held by women growing from 18 per cent in 2018 to 32 per cent today.

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