Entrepreneurial women are being snubbed by investors


In venture capital and growth finance, the percentage of funding going to all-women teams also rose and the number of venture capital firms committing to the code was almost 50pc higher than the previous year.

But this data also highlights where more change needs to come and it tells a clear story. Across investors and lenders, female-led businesses consistently seek and receive less investment and lending than firms run by men.

Together, we have to change this and work is underway. The Women Angel Investment Taskforce is taking a newly launched ‘Women Backing Women’ campaign around the country, working with local organisations and groups to make angel investment more understandable and accessible for women. Emma Davies, the co-chief executive of Octopus Ventures, has joined the Rose Review board to drive new thinking among venture capitalists. We are busy recruiting more companies to commit to the code.

Above all, we know what makes a difference. Today’s report shows how important it is to ensure that female entrepreneurs can make “warm” approaches to investors. Cold approaches – applications for investment without referrals from parties known or trusted by investors – are much more likely to fail. We need to build the networking opportunities that allow women to create relationships that lead to funding.

We know, too, that signatories to the code can create change. For example, venture capital code signatories are more likely to invest in companies with a female founder than the wider market. Yes – companies with a greater existing commitment to equality are natural backers of the code, but many signatories are active in asking the questions that matter: how can we be accessible for female founders, more imaginative in where we look for investments, and fairer in the decisions we make?

Some of the answers to those questions will be applicable across financial services. Spelling out what ambitious female founders can achieve and demystifying the business of investment are challenges for us all. But many of the reforms that make a real difference will come not from any single initiative, but many small changes. They will take place inside large organisations and small, in major investment committees and in the decisions made by individual angels. 

The value of the Investing in Women Code comes in the end, not from the collection of data alone, but from the focus and reform that follows. Transparency can deliver the changes that female entrepreneurs, and the British economy at large, need to flourish.


Source link