Fewer women may start their own businesses but, if they do, they are more likely to be successful, a leading female entrepreneur has claimed.
Michelle Mone, founder of MJM International and inventor of the Ultimo gelfilled bra, said her experience of female entrepreneurs was that, despite having to juggle work and home responsibilities, their attention to detail helped them succeed.
"I'm not trying to put down men, but running a business is harder for a woman - although things have been getting better.
"The simple fact is that women have babies and combining a family with owning a firm is a big stress.
"It's not surprising that fewer women start their own company.
"However, I believe that women can be very successful business owners. They have a much greater attention to detail.
"When I look at the way that my office is run and the atmosphere we work in, I know it wouldn't be the same if it was run by a man."
Ms Mone's comments came after it was announced she will be a guest speaker at this year's Open05 conference at Birmingham's ICC.
The event - sponsored by the The Birmingham Post, Allied Irish Bank, Birmingham Business Link and Andersons KBS - aims to provide medium-sized businesses with networking opportunities and the chance to pick the brains of successful entrepreneurs across a wide range of industries.
Ms Mone founded MJM International in 1996 after tracking down the manufacturer of breast enhancers she had read about in a magazine and securing the UK and European distribution rights.
The company then went on to design and produce the Ultimo bra range, for which it became famous.
In 2004, Ms Mone signed a deal to produce her own range of lingerie for Asda stores and also secured a 45- country licence for some of the biggest lingerie brands in the world from New York-based Warnaco.
The Scottish company has also recently moved to a new, state-of-the-art head office in Glasgow.
Ms Mone said she wanted to inspire other individuals to turn their dreams of owning a business into a reality.
"So many people want to run their own company.
"But you need to be honest and ask yourself can I make this work and am I prepared to put everything I own into it?
"If you really want it, you have to put in as much as you can and try to make it work.
"If it wasn't hard, everyone would be doing it!"
* Michelle Mone will be speaking at Open05 on Wednesday October 12 at the ICC in Birmingham.
The event is aimed at managing directors or senior directors of growing businesses. Delegate places are priced £250 plus vat. To book, visit www.open05.com or call 0121 237 6924.