Dorchester author John Smythe has co-written a new book with businesswoman Ruth Saunders to inspire and encourage women to start up their own businesses, titled Female Entrepreneurs – The Secrets of Their Success.

Research revealed last month by female networking club AllBright showed that one in four women are setting up their own business as a result of the pandemic. Despite evidence that women have been disproportionately affected by coronavirus, there’s a renewed sense of optimism among working women.

Yet there remain huge challenges for women setting up their own businesses: 91 per cent of venture capital money continues to fund businesses founded solely by men, with only one per cent invested in businesses founded solely by women.

Female Entrepreneurs – The Secrets of Their Success offers vital insights into how women can start, launch and grow their own businesses in these challenging times, as well as tips on how to stay sane and enjoy the journey.

The book is based on interviews with 52 female entrepreneurs of all ages and at all stages of business, including local entrepreneurs Sarah Ali Choudhury from Bournemouth, known as ‘The Curry Queen’Emma Hill, founder of Redefine Hair Salon in Poundbury; Carolyn Hopkins, founder of Shaftesbury-based cheese shop on wheels The Truckle Truck; and Alex Beer, founder of Feed the Soul vegan café in Charminster.

The aim of the book is to encourage women who have never considered becoming an entrepreneur, as well as women who have considered it but feel constrained by extrinsic and intrinsic barriers, to do so – a subject that is more relevant than ever given the number of new entrepreneurs that the Covid-19 crisis has created.

Additionally, it’s a manifesto for society, Government and the corporate world, particularly investors, to recognise and embrace the huge value that female entrepreneurs bring to society and the economy. “Time and again, we hear from talented women that they’ve been driven from their corporate careers and had to become entrepreneurs out of necessity,” says Smythe.

“They are then hampered by the fact 91% of venture capital money funds businesses founded solely by men. It’s time to get serious about creating and supporting a vibrant culture of female entrepreneurship in the UK and unleash this incredible resource for the good of women and society as a whole.”

Co-author Saunders adds: “Throughout history, crises have been pivotal in disrupting society. Covid-19 is no exception. New entrepreneurs and business models are springing up almost overnight, with people changing careers to solve problems created by the pandemic and prepare for life in the future. “This is an incredible time for women who have dreamt of being an entrepreneur, but haven’t yet taken the leap, to take their first steps towards realising their goals.”

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