Female entrepreneurs are doing more to help support the recovery of High Street businesses in the UK than ever before, according to new stats released by the Federation of Small Businesses.

When FSB members were last surveyed some twenty years ago around 24% of High Street businesses (such as retail, hotels and leisure firms) were primarily owned by women – however an updated study has found that roughly half (49.5%) of new businesses in the same sectors are now owned by women – meaning the number of female-owned businesses on the High Street has more than doubled since 1994.

The FSB in particular highlighted Helmsley in North Yorkshire, where 60% of the businesses on the High Street are female-owned, concluding that the town is “representative of a wider shift across the UK with increasing numbers of female entrepreneurs driving economic growth in town centres.”

The FSB’s research also found that women are less likely to take financial risks when setting up their new enterprise, on average borrowing £10,000 less than their male counterparts (£18,700 vs £28,800).

The FSB’s National Chairman John Allan said:

“How fantastic to see more women in business; in particular taking a leading-role on UK high streets. The UK’s town centres look a lot different today than even five years ago. We really need to keep small businesses at the heart of the local community generating wealth, employment and opportunity.

“We are witnessing a welcome change with more women entrepreneurs establishing businesses than at any time before. And it is striking how this trend seems to be speeding up since the recession – it shows many women have the guts and a real entrepreneurial spirit.”