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Democrats bridge the "gender finance gap"

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Senator Cheryl Kernot Australian Democrats Parliamentary Leader

1g February, 199S MEDIA RELEASE . 961


Australian Democrats’ Leader and Queensland Senator Cheryl Kernot today unveiled seven initiatives to assist women in small business.

Women own more than 30% of Australian small businesses and studies have found that businesses owned by women are more profitable and become profitable more quickly than businesses owned by men. .

Other studies have found that women have superior business survival skills, are better managers of staff and are more able to adapt to changes In the business environment.

Senator Kemot said: "If, as the research suggests, women are better at running small businesses, what is preventing them from turning their small businesses into bigger ones? '

Ί think a big part of the problem lies in the difficulty women experience in financing their businesses: the ‘gender finance gap’.

“For a start, when it comes to personal savings, they usually arrive at the small business starting gate with a lot less money than their male counterparts. Nearly 70% of women start up their businesses with less than $10,000 in finance, most of it from personal savings.

“And because the banks still require personal collateral for business finance in two-thirds of cases, women are disadvantaged yet again."

The Democrats’ proposals to bridge the “gender finance gap” Include: ‘ Establishing a loan guarantee scheme for small business; • Expanding the options for women in raising their initial equity financing; • Improving the skills of banks in risk assessment of small business finance and extending

the role of the Banking Ombudsman to cover small business loans; ■ Increasing the number of women managers in the banking industry; • Set up an Enterprise Forums programme to expand opportunities for small business owners and potential equity investors to meet; • Continuing the Commonwealth Development Bank’s “lender of last resort” role; • Increasing funding to the Business Network Programme.

Senator Kemot said: “Some of our proposals will help all small business, not just those which are owned by women.

"All our proposals are practical and workable. They reflect our commitment to developing and maintaining a vibrant, innovative and enterprising Australian small business sector.

"They also reflect our on-going commitment to Australian women,"


To arrange comment, contact: Cheryl Thurlow 0418 630 137.

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