Isabella Moore CBE, Co-Director and Chair of Leamington Spa-based COMTEC Translations, has been named the Midlands’ Diversity Champion in the FL National Awards & Summit 2018 which celebrate the success of businesswomen across the UK.
The inspirational entrepreneur scooped the top award at a ceremony in Birmingham where some of the most respected businesswomen were recognised and honoured. Launched nine years ago, the Forward Ladies awards promote women as an integral and invaluable part of every business, a fact which underpins Isabella’s latest research.
As an older entrepreneur, Isabella has drawn on her own experiences to carry out extensive research at Aston University Business School into why women in later life are half as likely to set up in business than men.
Her findings show that older women feel a social pressure to conform to stereotypical roles, listening to what their family and friends want them to do, rather than choosing to follow a less conventional path. They often feel that starting a business is not feasible or socially acceptable due to expectations from those close to them about their care and household responsibilities, and this creates reluctant entrepreneurs.
Isabella’s research has also found that older women in business are often perceived more negatively than men, with women feeling that business support agencies take men more seriously, adding to a lack of self-confidence amongst women.
Through this ground-breaking research Isabella’s aim is to influence policy makers and practitioners involved in the design of business support programmes to ensure that the voice of older women is heard.
She is calling for greater recognition of the fact that older women have the potential to create considerable wealth for the UK economy. With skills and experience not available to younger women, and a host of business ideas and knowledge gained from previous careers, older women are ideally placed to set in business.
Isabella explains: “Women in later life have untapped skills and experience, gained throughout their career, which are perfect for business ventures. Yet my research has shown that setting up in business is perceived by most older women as a daunting activity.
“If there were more targeted government initiatives to dispel the myths about entrepreneurship, along with a greater availability of informal mentoring and confidence-building business support, older women could gain confidence in their skills and abilities and consider a new business venture as a viable option.
“It is vital that awareness is raised of the considerable wealth-creating potential of such aspiring businesswomen for our economy.”
Isabella will now join regional finalists from across the UK, with overall national winners in the FL National Awards & Summit 2018 being announced in December.