Helping female entrepreneurs unleash their potential

Despite the strides in equality in recent years, only one in three entrepreneurs in the UK is female[1]. We take a look at the challenges female entrepreneurs face and the support that is available to them.

More and more women are becoming entrepreneurs, helping to power innovation and economic growth around the world. Female entrepreneurs are having a huge influence on numerous sectors and have become a key driver of wealth creation. Despite the growing number of female entrepreneurs globally, they still face many challenges to building and growing a sustainable startup.

Barriers such as access to funding, gender bias, access to support networks and lack of government support have prevented women entrepreneurs for decades. The good news is things are changing. 

Helping to drive growth

Female entrepreneurs are making a huge contribution to the UK economy, helping to create jobs and drive growth. More women than ever before are starting new businesses. In 2021, over 140,000 all-female-founded companies were created in the UK. This means that in total over 20% of new businesses are now led by women.[2] 

Despite the strides made in recent years, women entrepreneurs are still poorly represented across the UK. 

Creating a level playing field

According to the Rose Review, only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, which is a gender gap equivalent to 1.1 million missing businesses. The review estimates that if the UK could close the gender gap, it could generate up to £250 billion for the country’s economy.[3] 

At present, around 5.6% of women in the UK run their own business (compared with 12.1% of men). This is in stark contrast to the 15% of women in Canada, 11% in the US and 9% in Australia who are business owners.[1] 

These figures highlight the degree to which the UK is still lagging behind other countries and how much more needs to be done by policymakers to help female entrepreneurs.  

Challenges for female entrepeneurs

Female entrepreneurs often face challenges when accessing funding and they tend to start businesses with far less available capital than men, although the situation is improving. Less than 2p in every £1 invested during 2022 went to all-female founding teams. [3] 

Hydi Yip, Senior Private Banker, Lead on Female Entrepreneur clients at SG Kleinwort Hambros, says : “Female entrepreneurs are not risk averse but simply risk aware. Sometimes, this can be challenging when it comes to fund raising because they tend to ask for less.” 

They can also face sexism when trying to raise investment and struggle to be taken seriously in male-dominated industries. Women also tend to have less access to networks and mentors if they have been out of the workforce due to parenting responsibilities.  

Change is clearly needed to help make a level playing field.  

Nji Lorimer, Head of UK Domestic Wealth Planning at SG Kleinwort Hambros, says: “In any situation where there is a gap, it's important we try to close it. In the past, there have been barriers to funding, but this is changing. Our doors are open to everyone. It’s important female entrepreneurs know there are others like them out there and some of the challenges they're facing are not unique to them. Being part of a community can be extremely empowering. ”



Nji Lorimer and Hydi Yip


The importance of networks

There are more organisations and networks supporting female entrepreneurship than ever before. A growing number of female only networks have been established to support and equip aspiring business owners with the tools to build their startups.  

Joining a network can boost confidence and provide support when growing a business. Benefits include access to resources such as mentorship, funding opportunities and industry knowledge, as well as opportunities for collaboration and networking with other successful female entrepreneurs. 

Additionally, being part of a network can increase the visibility and credibility of a business and provide a sense of community and belonging. 

Nji Lorimer says: “It’s important female entrepreneurs know there are others like them out there and some of the challenges they're facing are not unique to them. Being part of a community can be extremely empowering. 

“When female entrepreneurs become successful it helps inspire others. Often when female entrepreneurs do well, they will help fund other businesses.” 

Hydi Yip adds : “ Network is very important- a community where we can be authentic and share our ideas. I love working with females,  we are so passionate about our business and the willingness to help one and other -  that's when the magic happens.”. 

everywoman  

everywoman is a global learning and development organisation that drives positive change by empowering women to achieve their professional potential. Established in 1999, everywoman works with leading corporations and organisations, improving productivity and performance through its membership offering and unique tailored blend of products and services which unlock female potential and powers businesses to accelerate their gender inclusion goals. As part of its portfolio, everywoman’s cross-industry awards and forums, including the everywoman Entrepreneur Awards, have created thousands of female role models and inspired generations of future leaders.  

SG Kleinwort Hambros is proud to be sponsoring the Next Level Award which is awarded to a female founder who has built a highly profitable business.  

The WealthiHer Network 

To avoid women’s progress stagnating, there needs to be a shift in our perspective and mindsets. Just because some progress for women has been made, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. 

SG Kleinwort Hambros is a founding partner of the WealthiHer Network, which champions the transformation of the finance industry's approach to women. 

Founded in 2019 by entrepreneur Tamara Gillan of Cherry London and Lauren von Stackelberg, The WealthiHer Network is a leading professional organisation offering women the knowledge, tools and confidence they need to manage and grow their prosperity in business and in life. 

It also facilitates events, forums and discussions that offer its community valuable connections. The WealthiHer Network has been a huge success, helping women to make connections and grow their businesses. 

Nji Lorimer says: “Through these partnerships, SG Kleinwort Hambros aims at building a community through education and connections to help empower female entrepreneurs to grow their business going forward.” 

Sources:

[1] The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship (publishing.service.gov.uk) - March 2019 

[2] The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship – Progress Report 2022 

[3]The Deal 2022 | Beauhurst – January 2023 

Five things to consider

  1. In 2021 more than 140,000 all-female-founded companies were created in the UK. 
  2. Only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, which is a gender gap equivalent to 1.1 million missing businesses. 
  3. One of the biggest challenges female entrepreneurs face when getting a startup off the ground is access to funding. 
  4. Joining a network can provide connections and access to valuable support and help. 
  5. everywoman and WealthiHer are both networks supporting women and  female entrepreneurs to grow their wealth. 
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