International Women’s Day: Government to increase number of female entrepreneurs by 50 per cent

The Government plans to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Britain by 50 per cent.

The proposals have been set out today, on International Women’s Day, Friday 08 March.

The announcement, published by the Treasury, comes after an independent review found “huge untapped economic potential of female entrepreneurs going to waste”.

In an announcement following the publication of the review, the Government said it will “respond immediately” by launching a new Code for Investing in Women to help increase female entrepreneur numbers by 600,000.

The independent review – led by Alison Rose, Deputy CEO of NatWest – found that just one in three entrepreneurs are women, representing a gender gap equivalent to over one million fewer female entrepreneurs in the UK.

Likewise, businesses that are run by women are on average half the size of male-led firms and far less likely to scale up to a £1 million turnover.

Additionally, the review found that closing the gap between men and women could add £250 billion in GVA (Gross Value Added) to the UK economy – approximately equivalent to four years of economic growth.

The review’s recommendations have been reflected in the Government’s new Investing in Women Code, which will see banks and other financial institutions publish the gender split of the investments they make and whether those businesses are female or male-led.

Commenting on the code, Ms Rose said introducing transparency within the investing process will encourage financial institutions to adopt a set of best practices that will benefit female entrepreneurs.

“The UK has one of the most vibrant entrepreneurial communities in the world, but only one in three of our entrepreneurs is female – we need to be more ambitious and find ways to unlock the huge untapped potential,” said Ms Rose.

“The launch today of the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship provides the routes for how we, business, public sector and government, can achieve this together. It is imperative that we support female entrepreneurs and capitalise on the missed opportunity which is significant, equating to more than one million missing businesses and £250 billion for the UK economy.”

Zoe Kelly, a solicitor in iLaw’s corporate team commented “We’ve advised a number of very successful businesswomen over the years, but statistically they’re a relatively small proportion of our client-base. I’d love to see that proportion increase, and this initiative should help.”

The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Robert Jenrick, added: “Today’s businesswomen face too many barriers to setting up and scaling their enterprises. This doesn’t just hold back women, but every single one of us.

“That’s why we will be implementing Alison’s recommendation for a new Code for banks and investors to give businesswomen greater access to finance, as part of our ambition to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by 50 per cent over the next ten years.”