The Courier-Mail

Record num­ber of mums start­ing small busi­nesses

- LANAI SCARR

MORE women are start­ing their own busi­nesses than ever be­fore, con­sol­i­dat­ing the rise of the Aus­tralian “mumpreneur”.

They live in big­ger houses, have more time with their chil­dren and re­port a higher level of sat­is­fac­tion with their lives.

The Courier-Mail can ex­clu­sively re­veal the first com­pre­hen­sive snap­shot into Aus­tralian women in small busi­ness which shows that over the past two decades the num­ber of fe­malerun small busi­nesses has grown by al­most 50 per cent. The growth rate is al­most dou­ble that of men start­ing their own en­ter­prises over the same pe­riod.

Of the 668,670 women now op­er­at­ing a small busi­ness in Aus­tralia, a to­tal of 47 per cent had de­pen­dent chil­dren liv­ing in their house­hold – part of a new breed of en­trepreneur­s start­ing their own busi­nesses af­ter the birth of their kids to gain greater work/home flex­i­bil­ity.

The ground­break­ing study was com­mis­sioned by the Of­fice for Women and com­piled by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Sta­tis­tics.

Women rep­re­sent one-third of all small busi­ness own­ers in Aus­tralia, up three per­cent­age points from 1994. How­ever, earn­ing po­ten­tial for most fe­male small busi­ness own­ers is low com­pared with their male coun­ter­parts, with women bring­ing in half the in­come male small busi­ness own­ers do.

In­ter­est­ingly, more fe­male small busi­ness own­ers live in a large house of four bed­rooms or more – and own it – com­pared to women in tra­di­tion­ally em­ployed jobs.

But while they may be suc­cess­ful and ap­pear to “have it all”, mumpreneur­s fail to plan for their fu­ture, ne­glect­ing to pay su­per­an­nu­a­tion and other ben­e­fits.

For­mer teacher Laura Fu­riosi has a suc­cess­ful busi­ness that is ex­pected to turn over close to $500,000 next year.

“I didn’t want to go back to work and miss out on be­ing with my chil­dren, but I got a lit­tle bored at home so that’s when we came up with the idea for the busi­ness,” the mother-of-three said.

Ms Fu­riosi started her Ras­hoodz Swimwear line seven years ago af­ter be­ing per­pet­u­ally frus­trated by her eldest daugh­ter pulling off and los­ing her hat ev­ery time they went to the beach.

Now her swimwear is stocked in ev­ery state and ter­ri­tory as well as stores in Ja­pan and the UK.

“We’re hop­ing to make an en­trance into the US mar­ket next year, too,” Ms Fu­riosi said.

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