Unlocking the untapped potential of entrepreneurial women

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Unlocking the untapped potential of entrepreneurial women

Women in their 40s and 50s are bursting with ideas to develop their own businesses but their own fear of failure, lack of confidence and financial worries are killing those dreams.

A major new piece of research into the aspirations of Australian women in their 40s and 50s, found that women were keen to combine their education, skills and life experiences gained from raising children, changing careers and even from relationship breakdowns and family violence to launch their own initiatives.

The Untapped Potential of Entrepreneurial Women showed two in three (63%) women aged 40-59 found the idea of running their own business appealing and 64 per cent of them had an idea for a new business.

But the report found 78 per cent had taken no action to realise their aspirations, with financial concerns (83%), a fear of failure (81%) and a lack of confidence (78%) all standing in their way, indicating missed economic opportunities.

Research Director Dr Rebecca Huntley said despite the stereotypical image of an entrepreneur as a young person, international research had found that successful startup founders were often aged between 35 – 45. This finding directly contradicted the popular perception that entrepreneurial success is primarily driven by young founders in their 20s. It demonstrated that middle-aged and even older individuals have a substantial presence in the startup world and can achieve remarkable success.

To encourage these potential entrepreneurs, the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA), through Commonwealth funding, has developed new resources for women to investigate and educate themselves on starting their own business.

COSBOA CEO Luke Achterstraat said Enterprising ME was an expansion of the successful Accelerator for Enterprising Women program, which offers four key initiatives to empower and support female entrepreneurs already on their journeys to achieve success.

“Enterprising ME is accessible and relevant for women at all stages, whether they are a young woman starting their career, a mother juggling family, career and life, or someone with a seed of an idea, or a desire to pursue entrepreneurship but is unsure how to begin,” Mr Achterstraat said.

It will offer online, educational resources on key themes like business basics, brand building and managing money, act as a networking platform, and allow women to access virtual mentoring.

The report’s key points can be seen below and the full report, The Untapped Potential of Entrepreneurial Women, can be accessed here:

Enterprising ME’s new website can be accessed here:

Jessica Marszalek, 0404 079 244,

1  Azoulay, Pierre and Jones, Benjamin F. and Kim, J. Daniel and Miranda, Javier, Age and High-Growth Entrepreneurship (April 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24489, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3158929