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High Interest Rates Negatively Impact 74% of Female Business Owners in the UK, Tide Reports

Female business owners are putting growth plans on hold due to high interest rates, according to the latest survey by Tide, the UK-based business financial platform.

As interest rates in the UK continue to sit around the five per cent mark, Tide reveals that around 38 per cent of female business owners have put growth plans ‘on ice’. The findings emerge from Tide’s Female Business Owners UK Index, which examines the challenges that women in the UK face when launching and expanding their businesses.

Overall, of 458 female founders surveyed, 74 per cent explained that high interest rates had negatively impacted their business during the last six months. Of these, 40 per cent struggle to plan for the long term alongside the current macroeconomic conditions – with 21 per cent using all of their profits to repay business loans.

Inflation (38 per cent), energy costs (25 per cent) and difficulty accessing finance (25 per cent) emerged as the biggest factors negatively impacting their businesses in the last six months.

While challenges and barriers remain across the UK for female business owners, 74 per cent still expect revenue to grow in the coming year – with 18 per cent believing this growth will be significant.

Tide supporting female founders in the UK

Female-led businesses make up just 20 per cent of all new businesses in the UK. Despite progress, overall only 5.6 per cent of women in the UK run their own business – much lower than developed economies such as Canada (15 per cent) and the US (11 per cent).

Heather Cobb, SVP member engagement at Tide
Heather Cobb, SVP member engagement at Tide

Heather Cobb, SVP member engagement at Tide, commented: “In the UK, participation of women in entrepreneurship remains stubbornly low compared to other advanced nations.

“Our research shows high interest rates create additional barriers for fledgling female entrepreneurs already struggling with issues like childcare and low self-confidence. I’m delighted to see that Tide’s female members are positive about 2024, however, we’re also calling on the UK to do more to encourage and nurture female entrepreneurs – especially as major political parties prepare for an election year.”

Through a content programme made up of videos, events and other engagements, Tide is aiming to promote gender equality and remove barriers to female entrepreneurship. The company is also helping 200,000 women in the UK and 500,000 women in India launch new businesses by 2027. Tide had already onboarded 100,000 female-led businesses by early 2023 – 10 months ahead of its 2023 end-of-year target.

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