THE latest Small Business Survey from the Department for Business Enterprise and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) shows that only 15 per cent of small and medium-sized employers are led by women.  They also show that, despite black and minority ethnic (BAME) groups accounting for around 15 per cent of the UK population, only five per cent of small firms are led by teams where at least half of those at the top are from these communities.

Clearly, these latest figures highlight the continued and significant underrepresentation of both women and those from BAME backgrounds at the upper echelons of our small and medium sized employers.

Yet despite the relatively small proportion of women-owned businesses, it is a fact that they still contribute a staggering £105 billion to the UK economy every year.  Plus, FSB research has demonstrated that firms that hired employees from BAME groups were more innovative than those that did not.

So while these latest research findings show that much more needs to be done to have more balanced representation from women and BAME groups in small business leadership, they also point to a largely untapped, latent pool of potential.

This Government has often cited its intention to ‘level-up’ opportunity across the UK. As we emerge from the current Covid-19 pandemic, this approach should include steps to level up opportunities so that more women and BAME entrepreneurs are encouraged and enabled to take up leadership positions within small and medium-sized employers.

Such a move could transform the makeup of small businesses for the better.  It would enable the nation to harness the entrepreneurial flair of all those who could lead businesses – irrespective of their gender or ethnicity.

Greater balance and inclusivity at the top of our small and medium sized employers, would also help to get the UK’s economy back on track as quickly as possible and benefiting as many people as possible.