Women founded over 150,000 new companies in 2022, despite the increasingly challenging economic environment. This number represents more than twice the number of companies founded by women in 2018.
First published in 2019, the ‘Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship‘ highlighted how women could add £250billion of new value to the UK economy if they started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men. The newest ‘Rose Review Progress Report 2023‘ aims to provide more up-to-date information on female entrepreneurship in the UK.
The report was commissioned by HM Treasury and led by Alison Rose DBE, the CEO of NatWest Group. The report aims to fulfil the government’s ambition of increasing the number of female leaders by 50 per cent by 2030.
Currently, 190 financial services institutions have now made formal commitments to improve female entrepreneurs’ chances of success by signing the Investing in Women Code. The report highlighted that this number has risen by 56 since last year’s report. The code requires signatories to adopt best practices to benefit female entrepreneurs and share their performance data with the government. Backers of the Code now represent over £1trillion in assets under management.
The review also announced that NatWest will aim to provide female entrepreneurs with three million places on programmes and opportunities to access direct support over the next three years. The previous year saw NatWest partners create 800,000 opportunities to access support including: networking events, mentorship and masterclasses.
The 2023 Rose Review also explained its commitment to growing the pool of female angel investors from 14 per cent to 30 per cent of the total number of UK angels by 2030. It aims to do so through the Women Angel Investment Taskforce, including work such as its Women Backing Women campaign.
The biggest leap in new female-led firms was among those established by 16 to 25-year-old founders, the numbers of which rose by almost a quarter.
Supporting female founders
Alison Rose commented on the report’s findings: “It’s a testament to the resilience and entrepreneurialism of female founders that they are creating more companies than ever before, and the Rose Review is expanding its support for their work.
“Across the UK our partners have provided more than 800,000 opportunities for female entrepreneurs to get the help they need to thrive.
“In the coming year we will continue to provide fresh initiatives offering mentorship, guidance and inspiration for founders, alongside securing new commitments from financial services institutions to make it easier for female-led companies to access vital capital. By listening closely to entrepreneurs and acting on what they tell us, we will provide backing to help them grow their networks, secure finance and achieve their goals.”
Small business minister Kevin Hollinrake also reacted to the report’s findings. He said: “It’s great news over 150,000 women started new businesses last year – more than ever before. We have also seen the number of businesses started by 16 to 25-year-olds increase by a quarter, reaffirming the UK as a place of opportunity for all.
“We’re backing entrepreneurs and innovators all the way with a range of support. Our Start Up Loans scheme recently granted its 100,000th loan with 40 per cent of awards going to women, and our Help to Grow: Management scheme is providing business leaders with the skills they need to succeed.”
The Help to Grow: Management scheme offers training to help SMEs to increase productivity, take investment opportunities and ultimately grow their business. The scheme, funded by the UK government, provides training; one-to-one support from a business mentor; access to an alumni network and support in developing business growth plans.