“Female founders built more new businesses last year than ever before, despite a challenging economic environment. They responded to higher inflation and macroeconomic uncertainty with innovation and entrepreneurialism. And through this, the Rose Review expanded the support that we offer to make sure that they can get the backing and finance they need to thrive.
In today’s report, we make clear both the scale of founders’ ambitions and the range of initiatives that are in place to help them grow. In 2022, women in the UK established over 150,000 new companies – more than twice as many as in 2018, before the Rose Review was launched*. Our findings show that 16 to 25-year-old women founded nearly 17,500 businesses in 2022, a figure that’s more than 22 times greater than in 2018**. All-female-led companies represented 20% of all businesses in the UK in 2022, up from 16% in 2018***. Listening to the stories of founders we have been struck by the huge potential of their businesses and we are making new commitments to expand our support for their work.
Moving forward, our ambition remains to provide the support and access for female entrepreneurs to unlock the £250 billion value to the UK economy identified in the Rose Review.
Within the financial services industry, we will press for more institutions to publicly commit to improving female founders’ chances of success by signing up to the Investing in Women Code. A total of 190 banks, venture capital firms, angel syndicates and other financial services organisations, including private equity and pension funds, are now signatories to the Code, up from 134 this time last year. Together, they represent over £1 trillion in assets under management****.
Moving forward for the code, we will work to secure further signatories, making investment easier to access for female entrepreneurs, and highlight initiatives that better support women-led businesses.
On support, last year the Rose Review and its partners provided female founders with more than 800,000 places on programmes and opportunities to access direct support, including face-to-face conferences, roundtables, networking events, mentorship sessions and virtual webinars. Thousands of girls and young women have also received enterprise training. In the year ahead, there will be extra support to achieve a new goal: we will aim to provide three million opportunities for support over the next three years.
Several significant new and expanded initiatives are already set to get underway. NatWest’s Dream Bigger campaign to inspire young entrepreneurs, having reached over 50,000 students in 2022, is now aiming to reach 60,000 students, while the bank’s free accelerator hubs are supporting hundreds of female entrepreneurs. Barclays will roll out its Female Founders Accelerator in partnership with AccelerateHER. Metro Bank is launching a programme of local events for women in business. Santander will be running a Women Business Leaders’ Mentoring Programme powered by Moving Ahead.
We will make information and practical resources that directly help founders to raise money more readily available. The Invest in Women Hub will be relaunched in the first half of this year with a new look and feel to help it achieve its ambition of supporting a wider group of female entrepreneurs, by becoming the go-to destination for women seeking to raise capital.
As we put these plans in place, we will listen closely to the experiences of founders around the UK. Only by paying attention to their experiences will we deliver the response they need. Across the regions and devolved nations, we will expand our help for investors and business leaders with tailored funding and education initiatives already planned in Wales, the Midlands, Northern Ireland, the North of England and beyond. The Women Backing Women campaign, via the Women Angel Investment Taskforce, is helping women across the country to become angel investors and opening up new sources of early-stage funding.
Above all, we will bring female founders – and future founders – together. Our programme of events is designed to build new relationships and help entrepreneurs to achieve more by collaborating with and supporting each other. We kick off this year’s events with our landmark Enabling Entrepreneurship event and a roundtable focusing on female early-stage investors.
At the heart of the Rose Review is our goal to unlock the £250 billion of new value that could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men*****. In the last year, we have seen that female entrepreneurs respond to challenging economic times by establishing new businesses and setting out on their own. Their determination to succeed makes us more certain than ever that we can help realise their potential and grow both their businesses and the UK economy.”