How Britain can drive the growth of female entrepreneurship

More educational initiatives, better data collection and fairer media coverage are among the measures suggested in a new report on supporting female business owners…

Better promotion of gender diversity and initiatives to encourage school-age girls to become business owners have been recommended as key ways to help scale up female entrepreneurship in the UK in a report by The Entrepreneurs Network and Barclays-led Female Founders Forum.

The report, titled Untapped Unicorns, highlights the disparities between men and women when it comes to securing funding, with male entrepreneurs found to be 86% more likely to be VC funded and 56% more likely to gain angel investment.

The report also suggests that, in 2016, 86% of funding rounds involved businesses without a female founder, with 91% of investment directed into male-led enterprises.

Following these findings, the report has called for new measures to support and drive the growth of female entrepreneurship in the UK, including:

  • Government improvements to data collection to gather clearer evidence of female entrepreneurship, provide statistics on returns offered by female-founded businesses, and to better publicise patenting progress made by women.
  • New initiatives to introduce school-age girls to entrepreneurship.
  • VCs to incite change by better promoting gender diversity and hiring more female founders, which currently make up just 7% of partners in the world’s top 100 firms.
  • Accelerators, incubators and co-working spaces to continue to offer female founders access to networks and contacts, with the suggestion that these programmes utilise a blind application process.
  • Finally, the report recommends that the media cover more of the female-led businesses operating in male-dominated industries, and encourages women founders to invest in, and mentor, fellow female entrepreneurs.

Annabel Denham, programmes director at The Entrepreneurs Network, commented:

“This is not just an economic discussion, though we know scale-ups are vital to the UK economy: we want to see smart, savvy business women getting the same opportunities as their male counterparts.”

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