Report shows progress in boosting investment in UK female entrepreneurs

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  • 160 lenders and investors have now signed a government-industry code helping women entrepreneurs access the financing they need to succeed
  • code signatories supported women-led businesses, including many more venture capital deals in companies with female founders
  • the government encourages even more lenders and investors to sign up to the code to further support women-led businesses

A new report released today (Tuesday 28 June) reveals the strength of investment in UK women entrepreneurs by lenders and investors who have signed up to the Investing in Women Code, a world-leading commitment to improving access to finance for women-led businesses.

The Investing in Women Code is an initiative recommended by the Rose Review, commissioned by the government and led by NatWest. CEO Alison Rose, on the best way to boost female entrepreneurship. The code sets out commitments to support the advancement of women entrepreneurs in the UK by improving their access to the tools, resources and funding they need to achieve their goals.

Signatories to the code include angel investment groups, venture and growth investors and high street banks including Barclays, NatWest and Santander.

The report is the second annual report on the code and key findings include:

  • in 2021, 34% of venture capital deals concluded by code signatories were for companies with at least one female founder, compared to an industry average of 24%
  • in 2021, the average amount of (early-stage) Angel investment sought by all-female teams (£791,000) was very similar to that of all-male teams (£823,000). This is a significant and encouraging change from 2020, when all-female teams requested less than 50% of the amounts requested by all-male teams.
  • the number of code signatories now reaches 160, with a notable increase in the number of venture capital and growth capital firms joining, representing 34 of the 53 new signatories in the year to March 31, 2022

Although there is still work to be done, the code is gaining more and more recognition around the world. A partnership between 14 countries including Australia, Canada and China, the World Bank and 6 regional development banks plans to build on the UK’s experience to create a “women’s entrepreneur finance code” to help the 400 million women-owned businesses around the world.

Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:

Growing the economy is the long term way to meet the cost of living and up to £250billion could be added to the economy if we break down the barriers that prevent women from starting up and growing new businesses at the same pace as men.

Significant progress is being made, but there will be more to do in the times to come, so I look forward to working with businesses to ensure that all entrepreneurs are able to make the most of their talents and j encourages more lenders and investors to sign up. to the code.

British merchant bank CEO Catherine Lewis La Torre said:

There are structural factors at play that hold women back when seeking funding. However, we also know that diversity is good for business and that is why, as the UK’s business development bank, British Business Bank aims to break down barriers by improving access to finance for all contractors.

As a founding signatory of the Investing in Women Code, we have focused our efforts on increasing the number of venture capitalists becoming signatories, as access to venture capital can be particularly challenging for female founders . While I am particularly proud of the 105 venture capitalists who have signed the code alongside other funders, much more needs to be done to take action and I look forward to continuing this vital work to promote and support female talent.

Stephen Pegge, Managing Director, Commercial Finance, UK Finance, said:

The banking and finance industry is committed to supporting women entrepreneurs with finance, advice and services to unlock the UK’s untapped potential. Women-led businesses have been driving vital innovation and growth across the country and this report demonstrates that progress is being made through the sector’s collective effort with investors, business networks and the government.

It’s important that all clients feel confident about applying for funding and so it’s encouraging that the report shows that 9 out of 10 women-led businesses are successful in their applications.

jenny tooth EBOExecutive Chairman of the UK Business Angels Association, said:

Addressing barriers for women-led businesses in accessing angel and seed investments is a key priority for our work at UKBAA. As one of the code partners, it has been encouraging to see a growing number of members of our Angel community sign on to this important commitment and take action to create change.

Significantly, we also see the impact of angel groups with an increased proportion of female investors on the number of female founders seeking and securing investments. We know there’s still a lot to do and we’ll be working to get many more angel investors to sign the code over the coming year.

Gurpreet Manku, BVCA The Deputy Managing Director and Director of Policy, said:

The venture capital and growth capital community recognizes that it needs to work together to improve the levels of funding provided to diverse founders. Increasing transparency and access to venture capital and growth capital investors is key in this regard and it was great to see more companies signing on to the code this year.

Our ambition is to further increase the number of signatories and to continue to highlight good practices and actions that work.

The government and partners in the Investment Code for Women have agreed on 3 priorities for the future:

  • further increase the number of signatories to the code, in particular by expanding the information available online for potential signatories
  • showcase actions adopted by signatories and promote best practices to support women entrepreneurs, including by organizing forums to share best practices and engage with women-led businesses
  • refine data collection and analysis, including assessment of additional parameters to be collected. This includes working with Rose’s review board to further improve our understanding of the financial market and the challenges faced by women-led businesses.

The report builds on last month’s announcement that a new “Task Force on High-Growth Women-Led Businesses” will support women entrepreneurs, tackle barriers to investment and increase the number of entrepreneurs. fast-growing women-led businesses. The task force will influence high-growth investors, the broader business community, and elevate the aspirations of the next generation of female entrepreneurs. The first meeting of the working group should take place this week.

A diverse and inclusive business ecosystem is good for customers, entrepreneurs, businesses, investors and society. BEIStogether with the partners of the Women’s Investment Code and signatory companies share a commitment to work in partnership to make the UK one of the most attractive countries in the world to start and grow a business by advancing the female entrepreneurship.

The government continues to support UK businesses and livelihoods, including through the Help to Grow Management and Digital schemes, increasing employment benefit and lowering fuel taxes.

Notes to Editors

Organizations are eligible to become code signatories if they provide debt or equity financing to businesses. Examples include banks and non-bank lenders, venture capital funds, private equity firms, angel consortia, crowdfunding platforms and public sector providers.

BEIS welcomes interest in the Investing in Women Code from all eligible organizations. Further information on the code and online registration is available at British Business Bank website.

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