A government-backed review has revealed that a record number of women started their own businesses in 2022 despite the challenging economic climate.
The Rose Review, led by Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, was commissioned by the Government in 2019 to assess the female entrepreneurial landscape in the UK. At the end of last month, it reported that just over 150,000 companies were founded by women last year, accounting for 20% of all UK incorporations.
A leap in young female founders
Young entrepreneurs led the way, with the report indicating that 16-25 year-olds represented the biggest leap in female-run firms, having founded 17,489 companies last year, compared to just 785 in 2018.
Small business minister Kevin Hollinrake commented:
“It’s great news over 150,000 women started new businesses last year – more than ever before – and seeing the number of businesses started by 16 to 25-year-olds increase by a quarter reaffirms the UK as a place of opportunity for all.”
Record levels of support
The figures published at the end of last month illustrate huge progress in female entrepreneurship, with twice as many companies founded by women compared to 2019.
Alison Rose said that the numbers are “a testament to the resilience and entrepreneurialism of female founders”, and mark the importance of increasing the scale of support available to female entrepreneurs, particularly as businesses continue to battle economic uncertainty.
As such, the review has confirmed that substantial expansion in business support for women will be provided over the coming years, announcing that it would aim to facilitate three million places on support programmes and opportunities for women across the UK:
“Our partners have provided more than 800,000 opportunities for female entrepreneurs to get the help they need to thrive.”
Ongoing support will be formed of business programmes, masterclasses, and coaching for female leaders, with Rose adding:
“In the coming year, we will continue to provide fresh initiatives offering mentorship, guidance, and inspiration for founders, alongside securing new commitments from financial services institutions to make it easier for female-led companies to access vital capital. By listening closely to entrepreneurs and acting on what they tell us, we will provide backing to help them grow their networks, secure finance and achieve their goals.”
Just under 200 financial services institutions have so far pledged to enhance opportunities for female leaders by signing the Investing in Women Code, a policy committed to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources, and finance.
Work is well and truly underway to expand opportunities even further for women looking for early-stage investment. The Rose Review is also aiming to increase the pool of female angel investors by more than double by 2030, from 14% to 30% of the total number of angels in the UK. Angel investors are high-net-worth individuals who fund startups in the early stages of business, typically with their own money.
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The news comes at a fitting time as this week marks International Women’s Day, and shows that what was once a male-dominated sphere is becoming increasingly more balanced and accessible for female leaders.
You can view the full Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship here.
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