In 2022, women in the UK launched 151,603 companies, up from 145,271 in 2021 and more than twice the level in 2018.
The number of female-led companies grew despite challenging economic conditions and represented a fifth of all businesses in the UK in 2022, up from 16 per cent in 2018.
All-female-led companies represented 20% of all businesses in the UK in 2022, up from 16% in 2018.
The biggest leap was amongst 16-25 year old female founders, which rose by almost a quarter.
However, the report also made it clear there is still so much to be done. For example, 50% of female business leaders and entrepreneurs reported finding access to funding and investment hard in the past 12 months, vs. 40 of their male equivalents. Additionally, 40% of female founders expect finding funding to get even harder.
This International Women’s Day, we were pleased to attend an event hosted by The Rose Review and our partners NatWest Group and Mastercard’s Strive Learning Network to explore these challenges and potential solutions in more depth. The event brought more than 100 business leaders, female entrepreneurs, MPs, and policymakers together in London. There was so much energy in the room!
Digital Boost’s Managing Director Karen Licurse chaired a spirited debate with four brilliant entrepreneurs. The session explored what support will make the biggest difference for them. We heard from:
Each female founder shared their own inspiring personal journey and shared some key challenges and opportunities:
Funding continues to be the number one obstacle for female founders. Only 5% of venture capital funding goes to female-led businesses.
The SEIS/EIS schemeshave been crucial to many female-founded businesses and we need to ensure that they are more well-known and remain available.
Similarly, we need greater awareness of the support already out there, including mentoring, training, and access to expertise.
We need more visibility for all female founders to ensure that they are included in the networks that will help them thrive.
The public and private sectors need to work together to find real solutions to core issues that female founders grapple with, including childcare options and costs, and maternity and caregiver leave for female entrepreneurs.
This is just the start of the conversation. At Digital Boost we are committed to seeing real change happen – and will be with female founders every step of the way. We designed our free business mentoring and support service to make it highly flexible and open to all. We want to ensure female founders and other underrepresented groups feel supported and aren’t left behind.
Get in touch if you want to collaborate together to empower and enable female founders. If you’re a female founder, let us know what support you need most and join our thriving community for support, guidance and peer networking.