Plans to increase the number of British female entrepreneurs by 50% have taken a leap forward, with major banks and venture capital firms signaling their support for Investing in Women Code, a UK Government-backed initiative to improve female entrepreneurs’ access to finance, resources and tools.
Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, Lloyds Banking Group, Santander, TSB, Metro Bank, the Co-operative Bank and Bank of Ireland UK have today all signed up to the Investing in Women Code, alongside venture capital firms Frontline, Episode 1, and Angel networks UK Business Angel Association, Angel Academe, and institutional investor British Business Bank.
The Code commits organisations to promoting female entrepreneurship by having a nominated member of the senior leadership team who will be responsible for supporting equality in access to finance. Financial services firms signing up to the charter will be expected to produce data proving their support for female entrepreneurs, and to adopt internal practices improving the outlook for women in business.
It complements the Women in Finance Charter, which promotes gender equality for employees within firms in the financial services sector.
Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association comments: "The proportion of equity in the UK going to companies with at least one female founder has declined to 18% from 20% in 2017. Companies with female founders were only five per cent of total deals and only two per cent of total investment value. This reveals the challenge that women founders have in accessing growth stage capital. The magnitude of the task to get women their fair proportion of equity is vast.
The creation of the Investing in Women Code should be a great stride in the right direction, but we need to galvanise support from industry leaders and governance to make our task a successful one."