Yorkshire sees massive rise in women starting their own businesses but more support is needed

More women than ever are starting businesses in Yorkshire, with female-founded firms making a record share of newly incorporated companies.

Data published in the Rose Review Progress Report 2022 reveals that 8,334 companies were established by women in Yorkshire last year, a figure that has more than doubled since 2018.

Across the UK, female founded businesses account for a record share of new firms, outstripping growth in male led firms for the first time, with more than 140,000 companies having been established by all-women teams.

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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.

Women are starting their own firms at a far higher rate.Women are starting their own firms at a far higher rate.
Women are starting their own firms at a far higher rate.

And the number of signatories to the Investing in Women’s Code has increased by more than 50 per cent, showing a growing commitment to improving access to finance for female-led entrepreneurs.

The report, set up and authored by NatWest chief executive Alison Rose, also outlines the extra support needed for female led businesses to thrive and the challenges that they have faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.

One section highlighted that if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men, up to £250bn of new value could be added to the UK economy.

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The Investing in Women Code, a commitment by financial services firms to improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance, has now seen a total of 134 institutions with an investing power of nearly £1 trillion sign up.

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise.Female entrepreneurship is on the rise.
Female entrepreneurship is on the rise.

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.

The Rose Review further shows that the impact of Covid-19 risks holding back progress and 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.

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Ms Rose said: “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.

Picture by GettyPicture by Getty
Picture by Getty

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.”