Investments in UK Women-led businesses grow

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A new report on The Investing in Women Code an initiative set up to help boost female entrepreneurship has revealed the growing strength of investment in the UK’s women-led businesses.

The Investing in Women Code is an initiative recommended by the government-commissioned Rose Review, led by NatWest CEO Alison Rose. The code sets out commitments to support the advancement of women entrepreneurs in the United Kingdom by improving their access to the tools, resources and finance they need to achieve their goals.

Signatories to the code include Angel investment groups, venture and growth investors and High Street banks including Barclays, NatWest and Santander.

Growing the economy is the long-term way of addressing the cost of living and up to £250 billion could be added to the economy if we break the barriers to women starting and scaling new businesses at the same rate as men.

– Paul Scully, Small Business Minister

The report is the second-ever annual report on the code and key findings include:

  • in 2021, 34% of venture capital deals made by code signatories were in companies with at least one female founder, compared to an industry average of 24%
  • in 2021, the average amount of Angel (early-stage) investment being sought by all-female teams (£791k) was very similar to all-male teams (£823k). This is a significant and encouraging change from 2020, when all-female teams requested less than 50% of the amounts requested by male-only teams
  • the number of code signatories has now reached 160, with a notable increase in the number of venture and growth capital firms joining, accounting for 34 of the 53 new signatories in the year to 31 March 2022

While there is more work to be done, the code is gaining recognition worldwide. A partnership between 14 countries including Australia, Canada and China, the World Bank and 6 regional development banks is planning to draw on the UK’s experience to create a ‘Women Entrepreneurs Finance Code’ to help the 400 million women-led businesses around the world.


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