Saturday, July 2, 2022
UncategorizedUK Has More Female-led Startups Than Ever — Is It Enough?

UK Has More Female-led Startups Than Ever — Is It Enough?

Collaborative Post

The latest review commissioned by the UK government reveals a record number of startups founded by women. The segment of female-led businesses is not only growing — it has outpaced male-led companies for the first time ever. 

Key Insights for 2022

In 2021, over 140,000 businesses were founded by teams that included only women. Every year, this figure is increasing by over 30%. The growth is particularly strong in startups led by women between the ages of 16 and 25. Females are increasingly open to activities traditionally viewed as male, including betting — click here to learn more.

According to the Rose Review, women established 5,951 businesses in Scotland. This is more than twice as much as in 2018. However, future progress could be hindered by the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic. 

As experts note, the pandemic has caused women to spend more time on caring responsibilities compared to men — twice as long. As a result, businesses led by males have found it easier to recover. Another reason is that females still capture just a fraction of equity investment.

Photo by Christina @ on Unsplash

Supporting Female Leaders

Authorities have announced additional measures in support of female entrepreneurs. These include: 

  • expanding schemes for networking and mentoring opportunities, 
  • facilitating recruitment through a campaign to encourage signing up to the Investing In Women Code.

The latter is a government-backed code developed in response to the review. It reflects commitment of financial services providers to improving access to resources and finance for female entrepreneurs.

According to Alison Rose, who led the review, female-led businesses still have a long way to go. The progress made in the past 3 years is just the beginning. Women are still not getting adequate support for their business initiatives.

Interpretation of the Findings

Gillian Fleming, co-founder and CEO of Mint Ventures, urges the business community to harness the potential of new female leaders. As more and more female leaders emerge, more financial institutions should commit to facilitating funding and change. 

She also noted that although the figures point to see change, female leaders across the United Kingdom need more direct support. They need innovative solutions to the challenges posed by their caring responsibilities.

As more women are launching their enterprises, they need guidance for angel investing. According to Fleming, it should take the form of “plain English training in a safe space where they can further develop their investment capabilities.”

Broader Perspective

In the UK’s top 100 companies, female leaders are difficult to find. According to the Guardian, only eight businesses are headed by female executives. One of them is Emma Walmsley, head of GlaxoSmithKline. 

Top list of businesses have made some progress on their gender targets, but the results are still unimpressive. A 2021 study conducted by Cranfield School of Management revealed there were more women on FTSE 100 boards than ever, but the number of chairs, CEOs and CFOs was still lacking.

According to the Hampton-Alexander review, the FTSE 350 group had exceeded the target of 33% females on boards. This figure was 38% for the top 100 and 35% for medium-sized businesses on the FTSE 250. Diageo, a drinks company, was the leader with 60% of board positions occupied by women. The lowest result was shown by Ocado, an online grocery service (17%).

The Tech Sector

2021 research by Codingame revealed that only seven of the 137 fastest-growing tech companies in the UK, according to Deloitte and The Sunday Times, had female founders or co-founders. These businesses include:

  • Buddi, a company producing personal emergency alarm systems for the elderly. It was the only company on the list founded exclusively by a woman — Sara Murray.
  • Phrasee, a copyrighting tool driven by AI algorithms. This SaaS platform for customer experience was co-founded by Victoria Peppiatt, who is now its chief revenue officer.
  • Elvie, a company producing health and lifestyle products for women such as wearable electric breast pumps and kegel trainers. It was founded by Tania Boler.
  • Seeker Digital, an SEO agency for scaling brands. It was co-founded by Kayleigh Toyra. 

Low figures of female involvement contrast with the booming state of the sector overall. This does not mean that women have no interest in tech. According to Aude Barral of Codingame, the findings should “shame the tech sector”. 

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