Research findings

The Rose Review Progress Report 2023 sets targets for female-led business support. Originally commissioned by the UK Treasury in 2019, the report was designed to monitor the disparity between male and female entrepreneurs. In a time when many businesses are searching for support, the review signposts where help can be found for businesses. 

The report found that in 2022 more women than ever founded businesses. In total, more than 150,000 organisations were created by women. This means that a fifth of new businesses were female-led in 2022. This is a steady increase from the 16% seen in 2018. Interestingly, 16-25-year-old female founders saw the largest jump with a rise of nearly 25%. 

This news comes after 190 financial institutions made a formal commitment to the Investing in Women Code. This number has increased by 134 over the last year. In total, the backers represent more than £1 trillion in assets under management and are required to share their performance with the UK Government.  

Despite this promising trend, the Rose Review sees more room for growth. The review intends to create 3 million openings through programmes that offer direct support to women in business in the next three years. In addition, there is a desire to increase the number of female angel investors by 2030. This will be done by working with the Women Angel Investment Taskforce and Women Backing Women campaign. 

The need for this support is emphasised by recent studies such as EY and Cranfield University’s joint report that found that there was an “appalling” shortfall of women in executive positions in the FTSE 100. 91% of women on FTSE 100 boards are in non-executive director roles and less than 1 in 10 CEOs is a woman. 

Commentary on the findings

Alison Rose, chief executive of NatWest Group, discussed the uptick in female-led businesses: ‘It’s a testament to the resilience and entrepreneurialism of female founders that they are creating more companies than ever before. 

By listening closely to entrepreneurs and acting on what they tell us, we will provide backing to help them grow their networks, secure finance and achieve their goals.’ 

Finding support near you

If you have started a business but are looking for support to take your business to the next step, then Help to Grow: Management is one avenue to explore. The 12-module course is available to any business operating for a year or more, in any sector other than charity, that employs between 5 and 249 people.  

The course is delivered by business experts, 90% funded by the UK Government and many SMEs have already seen results. On top of that, Help to Grow: Management has supported business managers from under-represented demographics. 31% of Help to Grow: Management attendees are women, and this is particularly noteworthy as only 16% of UK SME owners are female. The course also has a diverse age range with 20% of attendees aged between 50-65 and nearly a third (27%) aged between 25-34.

Help to Grow: Management alumni, Nisha Ravat who is the director of Green Tomato, commented on her experience, ‘the course helped me increase my confidence as a leader and consequently our business growth.’ Green Tomato managed to boost profits by 50% less than 12 months after taking the course. 

If you want to find out more about Help to Grow: Management and how it could help you develop your business, click here

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