There are about 700,000 women in Australia who run their own business as of 2007. Since then, a large number of women left their jobs after the global financial crisis in 2008 and joined the ranks of the 700,000 by opening their own enterprises, a survey released on Tuesday by the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AWCCI) said.
Based on the fast-paced growth of women entrepreneurs, the AWCCI said they expect the number of women who own their business to go up to 900,000.
About 79 per cent of those who opted to resign from their work to start a business belong to middle or upper management. The survey, which had about 3,000 respondents, discovered that 27 per cent of the female business owners enjoyed yearly turnover of over $250,000 and 42 per cent began with less than $5,000 capital.
The reported indicated that the women entrepreneurs need more access to capital for business expansion.
"With this new and important data, the AWCCI can advocate for programmes and policies to ensure women business owners and female entrepreneurs are able to maximise their contribution to our nation's economic growth," AWCCI Chief Executive Yolanda Vega said in a statement.
Women now account for 60 per cent of university graduates and women-owned businesses in the U.S. grew by over 42 per cent in the past 10 years. Ms Vega said that Australia is headed for a similar direction in slowly moving toward equal opportunity, particularly from the perspective of entrepreneurship, although she conceded it is not yet a reality.
The shift represents a change in the outlook of many women who, in the 1980s, had a goal of earning $100,000 or $200,000 a year.
"But many women walking away from a successful career in corporate life will never make that money again.... They tell me they're happier, they spend more time with their family, and they're doing something they love," she explained.
Another report by BankWest found that more women also preferred to work part-time to be able to have more time to manage their family responsibilities. About 79 per cent of men who own businesses work full time compared to only 43 per cent of women.
"As economic security and work-family balance become ever more pressing issues for women in Australia, part-time work is enormously important for women who are managing their own businesses," The Telegraph quoted University of Sydney Professor Marian Baird.
To contact the editor, e-mail: