In 1832, Robert Ayrey, a milliner and straw hat and stay maker,¹
wrote to fellow Independents and missionaries in Jamaica. Ayrey was
clearly concerned for his friends, and pleaded with them to return
home to Leeds despite the ongoing cholera epidemic. His greatest
anxiety was reserved for three girls that the couple had taken with
them: one of whom was their eldest daughter, Hannah, whilst the
other two were unnamed and apparently orphans.
A detailed empirical study of how small business owners finance their
enterprises, this volume compares the experiences of women with
those of men. The author redresses an over-reliance on subjective
and anecdotal evidence of discrimination in this area with a controlled
study of forty matched pairs of male/female owners, and their
strategies for raising finances.
The book finds considerable similarities between female and male
entrepreneurs in the type and amount of finance used in the business.
However, economic downturns can have a detrimental effect on the creation of new, innovative
businesses when access to financing dries up. The key role of finance in the development of small
and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is illustrated by Finland (Figure 3) where the peak in financial
constraints coincided closely with the deep recession of the early 1990s and a downturn in self-
employed. Economic growth suffers doubly in the long term since innovative new firms exert
competitive pressure on established firms pushing them to innovate.