A study, which reveals that men are twice as likely to start a new business in the UK as women, has been used to shape UK government policy.
The research, carried out by Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) experts in the UK for over 20 years, based at Aston Business School in Birmingham, consistently shows that for every 10 male UK entrepreneurs, there are fewer than five female entrepreneurs.
The GEM findings have helped inform a UK government review in 2019, titled ‘The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship’, which predicts that the entrepreneurial gender gap equates to over one million missing businesses.
The report recommends that increased funding be directed toward female entrepreneurs, greater family and care support as well making entrepreneurship more accessible for women through local mentors and networks.
In response to the review, the UK government has backed a new code, titled “Investing in Women”, which comprises a number of initiatives which encourage institutional and private investors to further support female entrepreneurs, expand networking and membership opportunities and create new banking products.
Alison Rose, Deputy CEO of NatWest, said: “I firmly believe that the disparity that exists between female and male entrepreneurs is unacceptable and holding the UK back. The unrealised potential for the UK economy is enormous.”
Mark Hart, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Small Business at Aston Business School, said: “A year ago, on International Women’s Day, the Rose Review was published and signalled a step change in strategic and practical thinking on how the gender pay gap, identified by the annual GEM findings, can be addressed in the UK.
“Since then, great progress has been made, not least by NatWest themselves, as they meet head on some of the issues that women face in raising finance to start and grow their businesses.
“The recent British Business Bank report on Small Business Finance Markets (2019/20), again using GEM data, highlighted the scale of the task ahead.
“So on International Women’s Day in 2020, let’s renew our pledge to create a level playing field for all nascent, new and established entrepreneurs in the UK.”