Women-owned businesses on the increase
WITH women start-up businesses growing by 38% in recent years*,
there is no reason why women should not set up their own companies
according to an entrepreneur who is celebrating her third year
Gill Sweeney previously owned a pharmacy and had strong competition
from a nearby Plc. However, providing customers with a personal
service meant that the pharmacys turnover increased by a
factor of six.
The increase in business proved too much for the nearby competitor
who subsequently relocated.
After 20 years in retail pharmacy, Gill decided to take on a new
challenge. Finding a niche in the market for the manufacturing
of elasticated tubular bandage, Gill researched potential pit-falls
and market needs.
During her pharmacy years, Gill witnessed the disappearance of
many pharmaceutical businesses and the amalgamation of small companies.
By developing a new brand of elasticated tubular bandage, Gill
has been able to offer a unique individual approach providing
a level of service that is not always inherent within larger establishments.
The small close-knit company provides added choice
within the bandage market. This inspiration to stand out from
other businesses has been welcomed by many and after years of
research Gills company Easigrip Ltd. supplies a high quality
With over a fifth of small business collapsing within the first
year of business, it is highly significant that Gill has had remarkable
success - with her product being exported to six overseas countries
over a three-year period.
Seeing the product on pharmacy shelves and being able to view
entries for Easigrip on computer software systems abroad is certainly
rewarding for the entrepreneur - who believes her change in career
was certainly worthwhile.
Changing career path from a position I was trained for into
an environment that I had little knowledge about was undoubtedly
a risk. However, many companies offer advice on starting new businesses
and I have benefited from various initiatives.
There are many on-line companies who provide impartial advice
for women entrepreneurs. Web-sites such as www.busygirl.co.uk
support development offering a range of services and I believe
starting a new business is a challenge that can be very rewarding,
explains entrepreneur Gill.
According to NatWest figures, women who start-up businesses feel
a greater sense of fulfilment and a higher level of satisfaction
than their male counterparts. And, women are less likely to be
involved with limited companies, but more likely to start a partnership
business than male entrepreneurs.
Women interested in starting up their own business can contact
Small Business Services on 0207 215 5363.
1. * Survey by NOP on behalf of NatWest bank.
2. Trade Partners UK has helped Easigrip export, providing a range
of international contacts.