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Investing in Women Code launched

18 July 2019

The Investing in Women Code, a new government-backed initiative to propel female-led business has been launched.

Major banks and venture capital firms have signalled their support, including 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 Investing in Women Code is a commitment to support female entrepreneurship in the UK by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance needed to build a business.

According to the British Business Bank, start-ups with all-female founder teams get less than 1% of available capital compared with 89% invested in all-male founders. Mixed gender teams make up the remaining 10%. Contextualised by the fact that currently, only 14% of business angel investors in the UK are women.

Jenny Tooth, CEO of the UK Business Angels Association (pictured), pointed out that 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,” Tooth said.

However, she added, angel investments in women founders represent 22% of seed stage deals. This highlights that “angel investors are a significant source of investment for companies with at least one female founder and demonstrate the importance of encouraging more female angel investors who are much more likely to support female-founded business.”

The creation of the Investing in Women Code should be a great stride in the right direction for assisting women in business. We continually fight for greater parity in the investment arena at the UK Business Angels Association, but we need to galvanise support from industry leaders and governance to make our task a successful one. To have government-backed initiatives will bring the conversation of backing female business leaders to the very forefront of what we are trying to achieve, and hopefully make our task less of an uphill struggle.”