Sheffield and Manchester are the worst cities in Britain to be a female entrepreneur, says survey

SHEFFIELD and Manchester are the joint worst cities in Britain to be a female entrepreneur, according to a new survey.

The skyline of Sheffield's city centre

The study of women in business, which was carried out by research company Reckless on behalf of the domestic cleaning firm Well-Polished, also concluded that Leeds was the joint third best city in the UK to be a female entrepreneur. Reckless surveyed 1,000 female entrepreneurs in 19 UK cities. Overall, Yorkshire and the Humber came joint bottom out of all the UK regions with a score of just 5.3 out of 10 in the survey.

It shares the bottom slot with the North East and Scotland.

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The survey says that for women, the results of the Northern Powerhouse project are yet to be seen.

London and the East Midlands came joint top with scores of 5.7 out of 10. The study said there is a “clear divide” between the opportunities on offer in the North and South of the UK.

Sheffield comes joint bottom of the UK-wide survey with an average score of 4.9 out of 10, alongside Manchester, while Leeds comes in joint third, alongside London and Brighton, with an average score of 5.7.

The survey found that Birmingham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne came joint first in the survey with a score of 5.9 out of 10. Stoke-on-Trent came second, after scoring 5.8 in the survey.

Richard Wright, the executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, and Louisa Harrison-Walker, the chairman of Sheffield Chamber Council and the owner of Benchmark Recruit, both said they were disappointed by the survey’s findings.

Ms Harrison-Walker said: “As a recruitment company we see, on a daily basis, the relatively equal numbers of male and female applicants for jobs (in Sheffield) - it’s difficult and disappointing to believe that we perform the worst in the country for female entrepreneurs.

“We have moved forward in the last few years but the data implies that other cities have moved faster.”

Mr Wright said: “Our city economy needs to grow faster than many others because we need to close the gap with them.

“I’m convinced there is a link between our relatively poor economy and the number of women in business. As a chamber, we have made strides with our first two women presidents within the last five years, as well as our first chair of chamber council and our first female executive director but clearly more needs to be done to encourage wider participation by women in the business community.”

Both Ms Harrison-Walker and Mr Wright reiterated their commitment to pushing for further change.

“It’s not something we can let lie - the bottom line is that the economy clearly needs it.” said Ms Harrison-Walker.

Mark Goldstone, the head of business representation and policy at Leeds Chamber, said: “Leeds is earning a growing reputation as one of the great places to come and start and scale up a business with organisations such as E-Spark, Future Labs, Duke Studios and our universities providing superb spaces to incubate and grow.

“Plans are being developed to create the Leeds Innovation District on the northern side of the city centre, which will boost links between great ideas and potential market opportunities.

“Construction of the University of Leeds ‘nexus’ project is already underway, which will create not only much needed moving on space for growing companies but will create direct links with the university’s world class research capabilities.”