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SEEDA urges women to think global

17 November 2008
Julie Kapsalis
Julie Kapsalis, SEEDA Director of Business Support & Enterprise.

Global Women's Enterprise Day – 19th November 2008

Women business-owners should not be afraid of targeting overseas markets says Julie Kapsalis, Director of Business Support & Enterprise of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

As Global Enterprise Week takes place this week, Julie explains the need for women to grasp the need to think global in order to compete in the current economic downturn.

"Whilst SEEDA is succeeding in creating a more favourable environment for women’s enterprise, it seems that businesses owned or managed by women are generally more locally focused than those run by men", she says.

"Female-owned businesses tend to have much more localised markets and are less likely to be exporters - (21% compared with 28% of male owned businesses).

"In the South East, one quarter of female entrepreneurs who have never sold products or services abroad have nevertheless received enquiries from overseas, according to a recent report published by Business Link. This represents huge untapped potential which needs to be exploited".

Poor access to finance is often highlighted as a barrier for women seeking to grow their businesses. The fact that female owned and managed businesses are less likely to use external finance may be inhibiting their development in expanding markets and in levels of innovation.

American businesswomen Colleen Jolly suggests that lessons can be learned from the USA, where the level of female ownership (28%) is significantly higher than in the UK (16%).

"British business-women should be thinking about the bigger picture. I recently established a new office of my Virginian-based company – the 24 Hour Company - in Kent. Opening an office in the UK is an obvious progression and I am already seeing the benefits."

Guidance to help female entrepreneurs expand their horizons and grow their businesses is available from Business Link.

Telephone 0845 600 9006 or visit

Global Enterprise Week related links

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