By the end of 2015, we will inspire and enable 20,000 women to explore and unlock their enterprise potential.

To achieve this ambition we are launching our Inspiring Women in Enterprise funding today of £1.5 million over three years to provide grants up to £50,000 to organisations across the UK that encourage and support women into enterprise.

Since 2007 we have provided tailored specialist support and advice for women-led business through our dedicated Women in Business Ambassadors, who are in the course of being trained and accredited by Chartered Banker and Everywoman.

So, when statistics show that women make up 51% of the UK population but only 17% of business owners are female – and that men are twice as likely to start a business as women – we thought it was worth finding out why, and what we can do about it.

We commissioned Aston University to better understand why women appear to be so under-represented in ranks of UK entrepreneurs. We wanted a detailed picture of gender and entrepreneurship in the UK so we could understand the challenges that women are facing and get a sense of what more can be done.

The research found that women do not have any individual or collective entrepreneurial deficit. Instead, the report finds that it is a combination of challenge and choice. Whilst there is clearly a cultural challenge, women also choose to use entrepreneurship differently.

We want to enhance the role of women in enterprise. That’s why, in addition to our banking services and our Women in Business Specialists, we will continue to work with existing and new partners to help to remove these barriers and help more women explore enterprise, develop their skills and start up in business.

For more detailed information on the research, please read our booklet Women in enterprise: a different perspective (PDF 3.2MB)

Inspiring Women in Enterprise is part of our RBS Inspiring Enterprise. On 8 October 2012 we announced our commitment to Youth Enterprise and we will announce our commitment to Social Enterprise before the end of the year.

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