This study focuses on the factors affecting equality of access to UK government grant and loan initiatives and the identification of gender differences in the uptake of those initiatives.
A qualitative methodology was adopted as quantitative data is already available regarding the sources and levels of financing accessed. In total 32 interviews were conducted with 18 women and 14 men seeking business start‐up capital. A review of the advice and assistance offered by 31 business support agencies to potential and existing male and female business clients across the region also was undertaken.
The findings revealed that there is a discrepancy in the number of men and women business owners accessing grant and loans schemes. Women do not enter into business ownership with the same amount of capital as men, and women are far more likely to access loans and grants than traditional forms of financing.
This is a preliminary investigation which needs to be extended and the relationship between service providers and small business owners further explored to provide a greater understanding of the complexities that relationship has on accessing government grants/loans.
The grant and loan system is highly complex and fraught with difficulties, which appears to exclude women and more specifically those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, i.e. those they were designed to assist.
Previous research has focused on private sector sources of business finance. This study is the first to look specifically at government grant/loan schemes that are targeted at those business owners who experience discrimination accessing traditional forms of finance.
Fielden, S., Dawe, A. and Woolnough, H. (2006), "UK government small business finance initiatives: Social inclusion or gender discrimination?", Equal Opportunities International, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 25-37. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610150610645940Download as .RIS
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