On 8th March (International Women's Day) NatWest published the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship. Data gathered in that report showed that only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs are women, and in certain sectors such as production, this goes down to 1 in 4.
The Rose Review revealed that only 5.6% of women run their own business and that women are half as likely as men to start a business. However, if more women became entrepreneurs, they could add as much as £250 billion to the economy, an equivalent of 4 years of economic growth.
Off the back of this, NatWest have launched 'Back Her Business', a new initiative aimed at encouraging more female entrepreneurs. Interestingly, the review identified 5 barriers to entry which affected female entrepreneurs, being:
1. Low access and awareness of capital;
2. Greater risk awareness;
3. Perceived missing skills & experience;
4. Disproportionate primary care responsibilities; and
5. Lack of relatable sponsorship/mentorship/role models.
The report also revealed that women are just as successful as men in sustaining a business however only 39% are confident in their own abilities to start one. 'Back Her Business' has been designed to provide support which will specifically address these barriers and will largely be crowd funded and then topped up by the bank along with providing access to advice and resources.
We are seeing more and more organisations realising the power of diversity and how gender balance is key. The potential impact that more female entrepreneurs could have on our economy is astounding and should be encouraged. It is great to see NatWest taking responsibility for closing the gender gap by launching this initiative and hopefully the other banks will follow suit.
‘Back Her Business’ aims to assist female-led businesses as part of the bank's wider ambition to reduce the gender gap. The bank aims to inspire and support 400,000 female-led businesses by 2025.