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Avon Cosmetics Ltd (Northampton)

Image of entrepreneurs still focuses too much on men as role models says Avon report

Posted: 20/11/13 by Avon Cosmetics Ltd (Northampton)

As Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 gets into full swing this week, a report commissioned by Avon Cosmetics has revealed that the popular image portrayed of ‘entrepreneurs’ still focuses too much on middle class, middle aged, and often male business leaders.

The Avon Get Started Report written by Professor Susan Marlow of Nottingham University, one of the UK’s leading academics in entrepreneurship, states that important groups of potential business owners under 25 and over 50 are feeling left out of the UK start-up business drive.

Prof. Marlow examined the attitudes of 2,000 women and men under 25 and over 50 (-25/+50) in order to unlock the untapped economic potential of more diverse business owners and entrepreneurs.

Avon Cosmetics commissioned the report after talking to its nationwide sales leaders whose workforces are made up of an increasing proportion of -25/+50.

These men and women signed up to start Avon businesses because they felt overlooked by business facilitators on their journey to become successful business owners.

The company wants to highlight the credentials of these under-represented groups to businesses, professional services and banks in order to change the way they select and back potential entrepreneurs.


The report shows that whilst there is appetite for business ownership amongst these -25/+50 groups, media and social portrayals of entrepreneurs strongly support the notion of middle-aged men as successful role models:

  • · 48 per cent of respondents say they could see themselves setting up a business at some point
  • · BUT almost half of women believe they will be taken less seriously than men as entrepreneurs
  • · AND nearly a third of over 50s believe they are too old to start a business
    · Only four per cent of total respondents were able to name a successful female entrepreneur
    · Only two per cent were able to name a successful entrepreneur under 25

Professor Marlow’s report outlines various that could help these untapped age groups to become mainstream entrepreneurs. The report makes several recommendations: 

  • Increased resources must be invested in entrepreneurship education to encourage more young people to the table
  • Alternative role models must be celebrated to challenge existing stereotypes of the ‘typical entrepreneur’ 
  • Successful entrepreneurs must play their part as mentors for those seeking entry into self-employment 
  • Regional support policies must not take a one size fits all approach to supporting self-starters 
  • Government initiatives must target under-represented groups, drawing upon life skills and experience

Global Entrepreneurship Week 2013 runs from 18 to 24 November and involves seven and a half million people from over 130 countries. The event seeks to develop and support promising entrepreneurs by providing practical advice from people at all ends of the entrepreneurial spectrum.

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