A generation of women could be lost to the economy if a revolution is not started in how childcare is provided in the UK, a leading woman entrepreneur has warned.
Speaking ahead of International Women’s Day on 8th March, the same day the majority of children are able to return to early years settings, Ren Kapur MBE said primary care responsibilities remain the most important barrier for many female entrepreneurs and that only innovative thinking can help save the childcare sector.
Ren Kapur said: ‘The latest data from Ofsted says that almost a quarter of the 75,336 registered nurseries are expected to close over the next 12 months, that’s a potential 20,000 businesses. These are worrying statistics.
‘There is the possibility women might be trapped in an economic and social ambush: you lose your job and have a bright business idea but then your local nursery closes and either another is out of your area or is too costly, so your business idea is ditched and you remain at home to look after your children. This scenario will see fewer businesses and increase inequality.
Ren Kapur’s comments came as she announced the setting up of a childcare summit later this year to unravel why childcare in Britain is so costly and to look at radical ideas fromnursery businesses, childcare sector organisations, parents, women entrepreneurs and MPs to tackle the big issues of the childcare crisis
Ren added that ‘There must be brave, bold, radical thinking about what we as a nation can do to ensure this important sector in society meets future challenges. We need change which is centred on equity and quality, reinforcing values instead of competing priorities so we can find comprehensive short and long-term strategies.’
Ren Kapur added that UK economy relies on small to medium sized businesses and that decisions designed to help parent entrepreneurs to manage their businesses and the challenges of raising a family were needed urgently.
‘Those who have done it, know that launching a business can be the one of most exhilarating things you can do but many women who are starting out and building businesses depend on childcare, but quality childcare can sometimes be out of reach.