Male bosses more likely to export

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New businesses run by women are less likely to expand internationally than male-run companies, according to new research carried out by academics at Sheffield Hallam University.

The study, carried out by researchers from the University’s Business School, examined companies under five years old to assess the factors behind internationalisation.

The research found women-led businesses and those based in the North West, North East and the West Midlands were less likely to export to international markets than others.

The team analysed data from the Longitudinal Business Survey on 1,881 companies.

They found start-ups that focused on innovation, placed significant importance on sales growth and had high levels of productivity were the most likely to internationalise in the first five years.

Lead researcher Dr Andrew Johnston, leader of the International Business and Economics Research Group at Sheffield Hallam, said: “There are some surprising findings in the research and some significant differences between businesses that export internationally at an early stage and those that don’t.

“We hope our findings will influence policy and ensure government support programmes are targeted in the right areas to help develop key industries.”

The research also discovered that although internationalised businesses makes a larger contribution to the economy they do not create a higher number of jobs.

The team has made recommendations for support for women-led businesses and recommend co-ordinated promotion of innovation and internationalisation.