Female entrepreneurs will be encouraged to dream big and reach high after the government appointed Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt to champion women in business. Around 20% of SMEs in the UK are led by women and statistics show that female-run firms are less likely to take risks and grow.

Despite these findings, figures also show an increase of 29% in the number of self-employed women since 2008, compared to just a 7% increase for men.

Ms Burt, who was once the assistant governor at Holloway women’s prison in London and has experience running her own business, will be working to generate more female entries for the Queen’s Award for Enterprise along with promoting support options available to ambitious British businesswomen – whether they have already established a company or have plans to do so.

Business secretary Vince Cable made the decision to give this voluntary role to Ms Burt based on her “wealth of experience”.

He said: “Having worked in and started up her own business, she is not only a role model for other entrepreneurs, but will be an ambassador for the support currently available to ambitious women-led firms.

“It’s important when women consider starting their own businesses that they know more about the support and help on offer, and the opportunities available.”

Investigating women’s enterprise in Britain

Besides encouraging female business owners, Ms Burt will also be scoping the general picture of women’s enterprise in the UK to see how the Government can make improvements to help entrepreneurs reach their full potential.

She said: “Just 20 per cent of British businesses are owned and controlled by women. This is a shocking waste of entrepreneurial talent that should be enriching customers, businesses and our economy generally.”