More women and ethnic minorities needed to unlock small business potential

  • 10 Jun 2020

The latest Small Business Survey from the Department for Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been released. It reveals that:

  • Only 15% of SME employers are women-led, a drop of two percentage points
  • Only 5% of SME employers are run by leadership teams where the majority are from black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups

Responding to the findings, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) National Chairman Mike Cherry said: “These latest figures paint a revealing picture of the makeup of small businesses across the UK, clearly highlighting the continued and significant underrepresentation of both women and those from ethnic minority backgrounds at the tops of firms.


Women-owned businesses contribute a staggering £105 billion to the UK economy every year, but there is so much more potential to be unlocked.

“We currently have 5.8 million small businesses operating across the UK, but our research indicates that we could have another 1.2 million new enterprises led by women, if we get the right support in place.  

“As we emerge from this recession, the Government needs to take a good look at the careers advice, business support, promotion of role models and access to finance that will be needed to help entrepreneurial women that want to start-up on their own.

“Equally, despite the fact that around 15% of the UK population belong to ethnic minority communities, only 5% of small firms are led by teams where at least half of those at the top are from minority ethnic groups.

“If more women and those from an ethnic minority are able to get into leadership roles, we can help to transform the makeup of small businesses for the better.

“FSB’s own research found that firms that hired employees from an ethnic minority were more innovative than those without.


“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and now more than ever during these difficult times, we will be relying on the entrepreneurial efforts of businesses from across the board, including those led by women as well as those from an ethnic minority, to get the country back on track.”

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