Women starting record number of new companies in Scotland, as Rose Review reports

28/02/2022
More women than ever are starting new companies in Scotland, with female founded businesses making up a record share of new firms, research for the Rose Review has revealed today

MORE women than ever are starting new companies in Scotland, with female founded businesses making up a record share of new firms, research for the Rose Review on Female Entrepreneurship reveals today. 5,951 companies were established by women in Scotland in 2021, a figure that has more than doubled since 2018.

Research conducted for the Rose Review Progress Report 2022 by mnAI published today reveals that:

  • More than 140,000 companies were established by all-women teams in the UK last year and the figure is growing by a third each year
  • The proportion of companies created by young women is growing faster than any other age group with 16–25-year-olds founding more than 14,000 new businesses in the UK last year
  • 134 institutions with an investing power of nearly £1 trillion have now signed up to the Investing in Women Code, making a commitment to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. This is an increase of over 50%

The Investing in Women Code is a commitment by financial services firms to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance. The Code commits lenders and investors to collect and report data about their performance backing female-led firms and the number of signatories has leapt by a half over the past year.

Rose Review initiatives have seen tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK benefiting from funding, advice and mentoring schemes, while thousands of students have received enterprise training, leading to significant year on year growth in female led startups.

But research conducted for the Rose Review shows that the impact of Covid-19 risks holding back progress. It suggests that despite the rapid growth in female led startups, female entrepreneurs have spent twice as long on caring responsibilities during the pandemic as their male counterparts, and that their businesses have been less likely to recover.

In response, members of the Rose Review board have today announced extra measures to boost support for female entrepreneurs:

  • The launch of a nationwide Women Backing Women campaign from the Women Angel Investment Taskforce to support women to become business angels and thereby ensure that female founders across the UK have better chance to access early-stage investment, wherever their businesses are based.
  • Expanded schemes will provide networking and mentoring opportunities and other direct support to hundreds of thousands of female founders over the next three years.
  • A recruitment campaign, with the personal engagement of NatWest Group chief executive Alison Rose and business minister Paul Scully, to encourage even more institutions to sign up to the Investing In Women Code.

Alison Rose, CEO NatWest Group and author of the Rose Review, commented:

“We have seen real progress since 2019. Getting more funding to female entrepreneurs and unlocking their untapped potential continues to be a priority across our industry. But women still don’t receive all the support they need and the pandemic risks holding back progress, so we must go further to achieve the goals of the Rose Review.”

“Data shows that more women than ever are starting new businesses and we must harness this potential. That means more financial institutions committing to delivering change and funding. We also need more direct support for businesses across the UK and we must propose fresh, imaginative solutions to the challenges posed by women’s caring responsibilities.”

Small Business Minister, Paul Scully MP said:

“We’re making the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and that means unleashing the entrepreneurial talents of everyone across the country.” 

“This report shows women are shattering the entrepreneurial glass ceiling, which is a huge step forward in ensuring our economy and society is making best use of all our talents. I’m looking forward to the further progress this year will bring through the Investing in Women Code, Start Up Loans and more.”

Gillian Fleming, Co-Founder and CEO of Mint Ventures, a women-led business angel investment club and network in Scotland, said:

“We welcome the beginning of a sea change with more women starting their own businesses. We need to make angel investing more accessible to more women by providing plain English training in a safe space where they can further develop their investment capabilities.”

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