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Smashing through the glass ceiling

Our finance partner highlights the challenges facing female entrepreneurship..


Female entrepreneurship is on the rise in the UK, with more than twice as many female-led businesses founded in 2022 than in 2018, according to the latest version of the Rose Review.


Over 150,000 new all-women led companies were founded last year, with a fifth of new incorporations being all-female led. However, female entrepreneurs still face significant challenges in securing funding for their ventures.


A report by the British Business Bank highlights that only 18% of small and medium-sized enterprises seeking finance in 2022 were owned by women compared to the 58% owned by men.


Approval rates for finance were also slightly lower for women at 90% compared to the 92% statistics for their male counterparts. Access to funding remains a persistent challenge for female-owned SMEs. Despite making up a significant portion of small business owners, women-owned businesses receive only a fraction of venture capital funding.


One of the main challenges that women face is a lack of appropriate networking opportunities. Many events and business meetings can be male-dominated, which can make it tricky for women to establish the connections they need to secure funding. Women often have to go the extra mile to prove themselves to investors and demonstrate that their business is a sound investment opportunity.


Access to traditional funding sources can also cause problems. Women-owned businesses often don't have the same financial resources and networks as male-owned businesses. Other forms of financing, such as lines of credit or equipment leases can be more of a challenge to secure. Without access to these resources, female business owners may struggle to grow their businesses and compete with male-owned businesses in their industry.


Despite these challenges, there are steps that female business owners can take to increase their chances of securing funding. One of the most effective strategies is to seek out women-focused funding sources. Some organisations and programs provide support and funding specifically for women-owned businesses. These resources can provide female entrepreneurs with the networking opportunities, mentorship, and funding they need to succeed.


Investors, policymakers, and other members of the business community need to recognise the barriers that women face and work to create more equitable opportunities for female entrepreneurs. Female entrepreneurs represent huge economic potential for the UK, with £250 billion that could be added to the UK economy if women matched men in starting and scaling businesses. 


For help with your finance needs and for a free business review, please fill out the section to the right and our partner will be in touch with you shortly.