< Back to articles

Advisory Board Centre releases new research report into Barriers to Scale for Female Founders

Report calls for targeted support to assist Female Founders breaking through barriers to scale their businesses.

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise with ABS figures showing an 80% increase in female founded businesses since 1991.  Across Australia, there is a groundswell of activity within the startup ecosystem to encourage more women to start their own businesses. 

The next stage in supporting female entrepreneurship is to understand the barriers to scaling a business, which have been explored in the national research report released by the Advisory Board Centre.

The Achieving Scale: Breaking through Barriers for Female Founders report, which was spearheaded by Jan Easton, Advisory Board Centre COO and Female Founders Program Lead, draws on respondents from across Australia.  “Within the business sector there has been a marked increase in the number of women starting their own businesses.  What sparked our curiosity was the gap between starting a business and significantly scaling or growing a business, if that journey was different for women, and what barriers might exist.”

The report reveals that there is no shortage of ambition amongst female founders with revenue growth, profitability improvement and product development cited as the top 3 ambitions and a sky high 91% of female founders identifying growth opportunity in the next 18 months compared to the broader business sector, which sits at an equally respectable 75%.

 

Growing businesses have a significant impact on the overall economy- which will be extremely important as we navigate the effects of COVID-19.  With an increasing amount of women moving into business ownership, there is an opportunity for a positive return on investment in developing strategies across all stakeholder groups to support women in overcoming the barriers to scale, or significantly grow, their businesses. – Jan Easton, Advisory Board Centre COO and report co-Author

 

Data was gathered from female business owners ranging from pre-revenue startups through to A$200M annual revenue.  However, the majority of female founded businesses (65%) generated revenues of under A$500K, with findings revealing this figure as a ceiling that female business owners are struggling to push through.

Advisory Board Centre CEO and report co-Author, Louise Broekman notes that “the intent of this research is not to identify ways to make business “easy” for Female Founders but to move the conversation beyond the challenges that exist for all business owners and identify barriers that may be specific to or more prevalent for female founders.  Amongst the findings, we were surprised to find the half-million dollar annual turnover is a real threshold point for female founders.”

The report identified access to funding as a major barrier for female led businesses with less than 9% of respondents accessing external funding, including investment or capital raising, for their business.  Using the data, the report authors identified four key areas for consideration throughout the founder support ecosystem.

According to report co-Author Jan Easton, “growing businesses have a significant impact on the overall economy- which will be extremely important as we navigate the effects of COVID-19.  With an increasing amount of women moving into business ownership, there is an opportunity for a positive return on investment in developing strategies across all stakeholder groups to support women in overcoming the barriers to scale, or significantly grow, their businesses.”

The Achieving Scale: Breaking through Barriers for Female Founders report was produced as part of a national research project led by the Advisory Board Centre in collaboration with research partners including Australian Government’s Landing Pad Program (AusTrade), Advance Queensland, Queensland Government’s Advancing Women in Business initiative and Mullins Lawyers.

Access the full report at https://www.advisoryboardcentre.com.au/female-founders-report/

 

Achieving Scale Female Founders Report 2020

 

 


Media Enquiries Contact:  Jan Easton, COO & Female Founders Program Lead jan@advisoryboardcentre.com.au

About Author:

Jan Easton
Jan Easton is a founding member of the Advisory Board Centre and Chief Operating Officer for the global network. She is a Certified Chair and leads the Women on Boards and Female Founders programs.