Analysis by UK B2B print company Print-Print Limited, reveals Female first-time entrepreneurs are leading the charge out of lockdown

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Post-pandemic we and other businesses have seen a surge in women-led start-ups, a rise in the percentage of women launching their own businesses for the first time. But this isn't just a UK trend, it's becoming a recognized phenomenon in North America too. Print-Print Limited has noticed this trend over the last 6-7 months.

Print-Print works with a huge range of diverse small businesses, this provides an insight into the business marketplace across the spectrum. However, even we were surprised to be the first people in the world to identify a growing GLOBAL market trend – a rise in the percentage of women launching their own businesses for the first time.

Building on’s original research, the CFA Institute (, the global association for investment professionals has found a similar increase in female-led start ups in North America.

In our recent opinion piece for The Drum (, we highlighted some very interesting facts about the orders we’ve been receiving from start-up businesses in recent months.

In normal times, Print-Print receives lots of work from individuals looking to create business stationery to support a new venture. Those customers usually come to us with some kind of visual branding already in place. A proportion of the time, need to clean it up a little to make it work as a printed design.

However, over the past few months, the number of people approaching us without even a basic design in place has increased ten-fold.

But why?

Taking the plunge
Millions of UK workers have been furloughed and thousands more made redundant. Many thousands more expect to lose their jobs in the months to come. Facing looming unemployment, many people have used their time off work to take steps towards establishing their own businesses, including many who previously would not have considered self-employment as an option.
But that’s not all we noticed about those orders from start-ups.

On drilling into the figures a little further, our data uncovered something even more significant. Based on analysis of hundreds of print orders received from start-up businesses between 1st April – 1st September 2020, we found that an incredible 78% were from female customers.

78% - that’s more than 3 in every 4 orders! What’s more, almost 90% of those orders required design support, suggesting that many women are creating and launching a brand for the first time.

So, what exactly is fueling this surge in entrepreneurial drive among women? And why are females seemingly more optimistic about the future than their male counterparts right now?

The fierce and the fearless

Pre-lockdown the split between orders from male and female start-ups was much closer to 50-50, so there is a significant shift happening. It’s difficult to say what exactly is behind that trend – perhaps, for example, more female staff have been put on furlough or made redundant than their male counterparts.

Alternatively, it may be that many women are less likely to procrastinate, to “wait and see what happens next”, than men, right now. Seeing the writing on the wall with their current employment situation, a higher proportion of women are seizing the initiative in terms creating their own businesses and meeting the uncertain future head-on.

Or perhaps, as the UK and the US has seen with the rapid adoption of homeworking and video conferencing, the lockdown has simply accelerated a trend that was on the cards anyway. Despite decades of campaigning and even legislation to tackle the problems, many women still face inequality in terms of pay and opportunity at work. It seems that the lockdown may have provided many with the final push they needed to take direct control of their professional lives and launch their own businesses.

Substance over style

The higher-than-usual proportion of orders from female customers is not the only trend Print-Print noticed about the orders of start-ups in recent months.

Usually, a large proportion of new start-ups order letterheads. It’s a statement of intent – if you have a letterhead it makes things ‘official’. Post-Covid, it seems that the distribution of physical letters is being replaced by emails and video chats and that budget is being diverted to other items.

When our staff crunched the numbers, they found Price Lists were the most popular item ordered (featuring in 32% of orders), followed by Indoor Posters and, despite the current emphasis on social distancing, Business Cards (10%). Traditional letterhead paper, however, featured in only 1% of orders.

This may suggest that this new generation of start-ups and brand creators is driven less by ego and is launching with a clear focus on the need to generate revenue from Day One. We suspect that a portion of these new female-led businesses will become rising stars and will be crucial to UK’s economic recovery in the months and years ahead.

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Dean Williams
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