09/05/2006 - 22:00

Facing new challenges

09/05/2006 - 22:00

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A recent study has gone some way towards clarifying what makes the ‘typical’ businesswoman in Australia as well as uncovering some of the potential barriers they face due to their gender.

Facing new challenges

A recent study has gone some way towards clarifying what makes the ‘typical’ businesswoman in Australia as well as uncovering some of the potential barriers they face due to their gender.

The survey, undertaken by Edith Cowan University director of Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre Beth Walker, found the archetypal businesswoman is aged between 30 and 50, is tertiary educated, married with children and likely to head a service business rather than one in manufacturing. This business will be smaller and employ fewer employees for a shorter length of time than that of their male counterparts.

The study into the management competencies of women business owners found they spent more time conducting market research and have historically spent more time accessing finance because of gender bias within the lending industry.

Ms Walker said, traditionally, women found it difficult to access finance, but that had changed as banks had become more vigilant with regard to discrimination.

Also, she said, women had the option of borrowing from private investors.

Gimos aussie co-founder Kellie Croxon said raising the finance to start the business was challenging, particularly as the company had to be conscious of not over-capitalising.

“We had to raise the finance to buy the original stock as well as setting up our basic office in Subiaco. At the same time we had to make sure the design of the catalogue was perfect as well as researching and deciding how to price,” she said.

Ms Walker said home-based businesses, particularly those online, had their own sets of challenges, including not being taken seriously and the physical barriers between the business and customer.

The study also found that women’s previous employment history provided them with better administration skills than men.

Whether this meant that women have better basic business management knowledge and a higher level of basic business competencies is not a conclusion the study could draw, however.

Women start their own business because of: flexible hours; desire to work from home; more balance with work and family; can be their own boss; difficulties with employer attitude to motherhood; desire to see children grow up; and finding a market niche in an area of personal interest.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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