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Enterprise ambitions

Rowling and Kardashian drive girls into business

J K Rowling

Role model: JK Rowling

Girls and young women are now more determined than their male counterparts to set up their own business, inspired by the success of role models such as Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham and JK Rowling.

A survey reveals that 65% of 15-21 year old girls expect to be their own boss over the next ten years compared to 63% of young men.

Young females are taking inspiration from women in the public eye, with Kim Kardashian (36%), Victoria Beckham (35%) and JK Rowling (31%) most mentioned. More than two thirds (68%) of young women feel that there are plenty of entrepreneurial role models to aspire to.

Four in ten women (40%) are also more likely than young men (27%) to draw inspiration from social media channels to become an entrepreneur.

The data emerges in new research from Starling Bank, which questioned successive generations – including today’s teens – about their entrepreneurial ambitions.


Encouragement is key to the younger generation. More young women are encouraged by their parents (18% vs 14% of young men) and at school (22% vs 16%) to think about running their own business and being their own boss.

Most young women (96%) don’t believe their gender will be seen as an issue by others when it comes to running their own business and nearly half (46%) feel that they have a better chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur than previous generations did. 

Today’s business women are inspiring their younger relatives. More than a third (42%) of young women said their mum, sister, aunt or grandmother have inspired their entrepreneurial ambitions. And young women are also more likely to be inspired by their mothers (21% vs 16%), while paternal inspiration is equal between genders. 

Young women have different business goals compared to today’s young men. Creating a business with a positive impact on society, or ensuring their business is truly ethical is a more important aim for young women than men (24% vs 16%).

But earning potential (40%) and the ability to be their own boss (63%) is also a significant factor. Young women are also more inclined to share the ownership and leadership of a company with a business partner (18% vs 13%).

The challenges that teenagers believe they need to overcome include having strong enough leadership skills (20%) and building their confidence (18%). The latter is the biggest differentiator between young women and men – with 21% of young women not confident enough in their ability to run a business, compared to just 11% of young men.

Anne Boden, CEO at Starling Bank, said: “The number of business accounts held by women has grown in the past year and we expect that trend to continue. This study supports the theory that entrepreneurship among women is growing.”

The number of business accounts held by women, as a share of total Starling business accounts, has grown by 14% in the last 12 months.

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