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Leveraging the power of female entrepreneurship could translate into an additional £250 billion for the UK’s economy, assuming equal funding and the correct support structures are in place. This revelation was made public by Kemi Badenoch, the Business and Trade Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities.

IWC: A Catalyst for Female Empowerment

The third annual Investing in Women Code (IWC) report was recently released by the Government. It showcases considerable strides made towards bridging the funding gap separating female and male entrepreneurs. The IWC now encapsulates a significant part of the SME lending market, which accounts for 39% of UK venture and growth equity deals, a substantial increase from 24% in 2020.

In 2022, IWC signatories were responsible for 35% of all venture capital deals in female-founded companies, surpassing the market average of 27%. A Government study revealed that the IWC, initiated four years ago as a landmark government-led initiative, resulted from the Rose Review findings. These findings showed a considerable lack of funding support, a significant barrier for women intending to scale businesses effectively.

Perspectives on Progress

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer for FDM Group, shared her insights on the report. She emphasized that while significant strides have been made, much remains to be done to bridge funding gaps. She stressed that granting equal access to finance is crucial to unleashing the potential of female-founded businesses. It’s an essential step in bolstering the Government’s commitment to growing the economy, a commitment that remains despite a challenging economic landscape.

Strengthening Support: The Path to Gender Equity

Over 200 organisations have pledged their support to the IWC, demonstrating the increasing commitment towards financial backing for women-led businesses. This showcases how the IWC has become a prime way to address the prevailing finance gap.

Kemi Badenoch lauded the IWC members, acknowledging their role in addressing the finance gap between male and female entrepreneurs. She emphasized the need to make the UK the best place in the world for starting a business, regardless of gender.

The Representation Issue: Female Investors in Investment Committees

The findings also brought to light the underrepresentation of female investors in investment committees. With only an average of 32% female representation in investment teams and less than a quarter (24%) on investment committees, it becomes clear that more diverse investment committees are crucial to increasing successful pitches from all-female and mixed-gender leadership teams.

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