Women & Own Business: What is holding them back?

08 March 2018
METRO publishes study on female entrepreneurship

On the International Women's Day 2018, METRO AG publishes its study on "Women & Own Business" with experiences of female entrepreneurs from 10 different countries.

In Europe fewer women than men decide to start their own business

According to figures of the European Commission, women constitute only 34.4% of the EU self-employed and 30% of start-up entrepreneurs. Moreover, compared with men, fewer women have the ambition to start their own business. However, independent businesses significantly contribute to our societies. They are cornerstones of thriving, modern economies and help our communities remain colourful and dynamic. The promotion of independent entrepreneurs -people who have ideas and the courage to realize them- must, therefore, be a key concern of political decision-makers.

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What prevents women from bringing their business ideas into practice?

For this reason, at the occasion of the International Women's Day, METRO has conducted a study on female business ownership, where we ask: "What is it that prevents women from putting their business ideas into practice?" The survey was conducted in ten countries - seven of them being EU Member States- among 10.000 respondents.

The study reveals that nearly one in two women (45%) dreams of starting their own business. But there is a gap between intention and reality: Only 12% of the women who are interested in starting an own business think it is "very likely" that they will realize this ambition.

Most significant barriers are the lack of financial support (49%) followed by the economic situation of the respective home country (43%) as well as burdensome bureaucratic processes.

Financing and support tools for female entrepreneurs are needed

The METRO study also reveals a high demand of state programs fostering female entrepreneurship: 80% of those surveyed – men and women - are in favour of government programs that help women to become entrepreneurs.

Despite growing evidence that investing in female entrepreneurship is crucial for economic growth, many women lack the resources to put their ideas into practice. For example, according to the University of Hohenheim, only in Deutschland up to 60.000 additional enterprises could be created, if women could catch up and realize their business projects. Therefore, we encourage political decision-makers to keep on working and promoting policies to overcome current financial and societal obstacles to female entrepreneurship. In this sense, we fully support measures and initiatives to make women aware of business support programmes and funding opportunities such as the WEgate-platform -a one-stop-shop for women entrepreneurship- or the EU Commission’s Prize for Women Innovators.

METRO also takes responsibility in the promotion of female entrepreneurs. Today, METRO starts its project “Own Business Girls”, with which we want to set a first example for future female entrepreneurs: Together with the HypoVereinsbank, we support every baby girl born on 8 March 2018 in Düsseldorf, where METRO's headquarters are located, with 2.000 EUR seed capital for their future own business. The girls will dispose over this amount after they have reached their legal age.

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METRO Women Own Study White Paper
METRO Women Own Study White Paper