Entrepreneurial men leaping gender gap

February 29th is a day on which women are encouraged to take a leap of faith.

February 29th is a day on which women are encouraged to take a leap of faith. Inserted every four years as a calendar correction, the date has traditional significance as the time at which women are ‘allowed’ to propose to men. Today, of course, the idea of a woman asking a man to marry her doesn’t seem so strange, whatever the date. But new research from Simply Business suggests that this isn’t the only gender barrier that’s being broken down. Having sifted through data from quarter of a million quote requests, Simply Business has found that entrepreneurial men are increasingly keen to start businesses in industries that had previously been considered stereotypically feminine. During 2010-11 we saw a 17 per cent rise in the number of male-run health and beauty businesses in the UK. Meanwhile the number of male make-up artists and beauticians rose by 11 per cent. The boundary-blurring tendency has also been prevalent in the increasingly lucrative cake baking industry – which has seen a massive 71 per cent rise in male-run firms. The figures make for particularly encouraging reading when it is considered that the total number of start-ups in the UK grew last year for the first time since 2008. Entrepreneurs are the resilient backbone of the British economy – and it is clear that they are unwilling to be hamstrung by artificial gender distinctions.

What does this mean for me?

The gradual erosion of gender boundaries can only be a good thing for entrepreneurs. As encouraging as these figures are, the good news isn’t limited to the health and beauty or catering sectors. Instead, the survey demonstrates small business owners’ startling ability to overcome limitations, whatever form they might take. The lesson is simple: if you have a passion, and you want to make it your business – take the leap, whatever your gender.

What has the British government decided?

The directive is not binding on member states. This means that individual national governments have a choice regarding whether or not they adopt it. The British government has indicated that it intends to ease accounting obligations for small businesses, and it therefore seems likely that the directive will be adopted.

What should I expect?

If the government intends to adopt the exemptions, it seems likely that they announce their plans in the forthcoming Budget, due next month. It is expected that new rules will allow micro businesses to submit a simplified annual return. In addition, the current requirement for a profit and loss account would be replaced with a requirement for a more concise Trading Statement. In addition, micro businesses may be required to submit a Statement of Position, detailing things like assets, cash, loans, and creditors. You should remember, however, that the directive has not yet been adopted - and you must therefore continue to keep your accounts and submit your returns as normal. Check back soon for more coverage of the forthcoming Budget announcement.