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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 18:36 GMT
Women businesses failure warning
Image of woman using a laptop
Women face barriers after starting up a business
Scotland's economic development agency has issued a stark warning over the high drop-out rate for women starting their own businesses.

Research shows men are 72% more likely than women to be the owner or manager of an entrepreneurial business more than three-and-a-half years old.

Scottish Enterprise's Marie Dorris said the problem was holding back economic growth in Scotland.

The warning came on National Women's Enterprise Day.

'Gender imbalance'

Ms Dorris, head of the National Unit for Women's Enterprise, said the number of women starting businesses was far higher than five years ago but there were barriers preventing them from long-term success.

She said: "The reasons for this trend need to be explored and addressed if the gender imbalance in Scotland's business community is to be addressed.

"This research has backed our own experiences that women are less likely to believe that they have the skills to start a business and they are more likely to fear failure."

Advice group Business Gateway is holding a conference at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh on Sunday 19 November to address the issues.

Last year 11,000 women started their own businesses, according to Scottish Enterprise.

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