Creating an Inclusive Landscape for Women-led Entrepreneurs

Despite the increasing awareness of gender disparities in the world of investing, women-led start-ups continue to receive less investment compared to their male-led counterparts. Creating a supportive and inclusive landscape for women-led entrepreneurs is essential for promoting innovation, economic growth, and social equity.

According to a recent report published by Taskforce, women-led businesses make up a very small percentage of high-growth enterprises in the UK. In 2019, all-female founder teams accounted for 14% of all high-growth enterprises. While the total number has risen (from 2,988 to 3,579) by 2024, the proportion of all-female-founded high-growth enterprises has slightly reduced to 13%. A slight rise in mixed teams (from 11% to 12%) makes up this difference. This means that all-male representation on founder teams of high-growth enterprises has remained at a steady 75% in both 2019 and 2024.

Interestingly, a study by the Boston Consulting Group in the US revealed that start-ups founded or co-founded by women receive less funding but generate more revenue. This scenario is similar to that in the UK.

In the United Kingdom, there are currently 43 active unicorn companies, which are privately held startup companies valued at over $1 billion. Additionally, 8 unicorn companies have exited the private market after achieving this status. Shockingly or should we say not so shockingly, only 6 of these companies are led by women, as revealed by a study conducted by Beauhurst. One notable example is Starling Bank, founded by Anne Boden, which has successfully raised over £584 million across eight fundraising rounds. Despite this being a major achievement for an entrepreneur, it remains a rare occurrence for female-led businesses in the wider investment landscape. This gender imbalance points to a broader issue within the entrepreneurial and investment communities where women often face more significant challenges in accessing venture capital and other funding opportunities.

Big Question: How do we create an inclusive landscape for female entrepreneurs?

1.      Providing female entrepreneurs access to investor networks, mentorship programs, and support networks which are crucial for securing funding.

2.      Develop funding programs specifically aimed at supporting female entrepreneurs.

3.      Train and educate to reduce biases in investment decision-making.

4.      Implement policies that promote diversity and inclusivity within investment firms.

5.      Support government policies that help start-ups led by women and close the investment gap.

Conclusion

With the latest General election bringing more women into power than before, it is now time that efforts be made to bridge the investment gap faced by women-founded start-ups in the UK.

Stakeholderz is dedicated to creating an environment that embraces diversity and provides equal opportunities for all aspiring entrepreneurs, regardless of gender, religion, or disability. We take pride in our track record of fostering the growth of several companies, with over a quarter being led by women. Our commitment to inclusivity drives our mission of supporting a diverse range of talented individuals in achieving their entrepreneurial aspirations.

We’re really excited about the new women-led startups in our portfolio. If you want to show your support or just learn more about them, feel free to reach out to us via email. We’d love to hear from you!

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