The Rose Review Progress Report 2022 on female entrepreneurship, published today, sets out the full extent of progress made since the inaugural report in 2019. It outlines the extra support needed for female led businesses to thrive, and the challenges that they have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The Rose Review originally highlighted that if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men, up to £250bn of new value could be added to the UK economy. Today’s Progress Report outlines progress made against targets and initiatives but cautions that there is still more to do.
In total, 134 institutions with an investing power of nearly £1 trillion have now signed up to the Investing in Women Code. The Investing in Women Code is a commitment by financial services firms to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. The Code commits lenders and investors to collect and report data about their performance backing female-led firms and the number of signatories has leapt by a half over the past year.
Rose Review initiatives have seen tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK benefiting from funding, advice and mentoring schemes, while thousands of students have received enterprise training, leading to significant year on year growth in female led startups.
But research conducted for the Rose Review shows that the impact of Covid-19 risks holding back progress. It suggests that despite the rapid growth in female led start-ups, female entrepreneurs have spent twice as long on caring responsibilities during the pandemic as their male counterparts, and that their businesses have been less likely to recover.
In response, members of the Rose Review board have today announced extra measures to boost support for female entrepreneurs:
The launch of a nationwide Women Backing Women campaign from the Women Angel Investment Taskforce to support women to become business angels and thereby ensure that female founders across the UK have better chance to access early-stage investment, wherever their businesses are based.
Expanded schemes will provide networking and mentoring opportunities and other direct support to hundreds of thousands of female founders over the next three years.
A recruitment campaign, with the personal engagement of NatWest Group chief executive Alison Rose and business minister Paul Scully, to encourage even more institutions to sign up to the Investing In Women Code.
Alison Rose, CEO NatWest Group and author of the Rose Review, commented:
“We have seen real progress since 2019. Getting more funding to female entrepreneurs and unlocking their untapped potential continues to be a priority across our industry. But women still don’t receive all the support they need and the pandemic risks holding back progress, so we must go further to achieve the goals of the Rose Review.
“Data shows that more women than ever are starting new businesses and we must harness this potential. That means more financial institutions committing to delivering change and funding. We also need more direct support for businesses across the UK and we must propose fresh, imaginative solutions to the challenges posed by women’s caring responsibilities.”
Small Business Minister Paul Scully said:
“We’re making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and that means unleashing the entrepreneurial talents of everyone across the country.
“This report shows women are shattering the entrepreneurial glass ceiling, which is a huge step forward in ensuring our economy and society is making best use of all our talents. I’m looking forward to the further progress this year will bring through the Investing in Women Code, Start Up Loans and more.”
In 2019, the Treasury commissioned Alison Rose, the CEO of NatWest, to lead an independent review of female entrepreneurship. Today marks the launch of the 2022 Progress report, highlighting the work and progress achieved in 2021 and the commitments for the year ahead.
The Rose Review partnered with data providers, mnAI, to uncover data on female-led incorporations over the past three years. Data shows that more women than ever are starting new businesses, with 145,200 all-female-led incorporations in 2021, up from 56,200 in 2018. This represents an average year on year growth of 37% per annum. These incorporations comprised 20% of the total in 2021, up from 16% in 2018. All-female led is defined by businesses who are incorporated with 100% female director. The total 2021 figure including those led by a majority of female directors was 148,800.
HM Treasury launched the Investing in Women Code in July 2019 following the recommendation made in the 2019 Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship. It commits signatories to adopt best practices that will benefit female business owners, with a member of the senior leadership team responsible for supporting equality in all interactions with entrepreneurs and provide annual funding data to government to inform an annual report.
The Rose Review commissioned a survey, undertaken by McKinsey in October 2021, which canvassed the views on 520 individuals across the UK of which 427 were entrepreneurs. 60% identified as female entrepreneurs. The Survey found that female entrepreneurs spent twice as long on caregiving (6-10 hours versus 0-5 for their male counterparts) and were 62% less likely to have their business recover from COVID-19.