More women than ever are starting new companies in Scotland, fresh research has revealed, with female-founded businesses making up a record share of new firms.
According to the latest progress report from the Rose Review into female entrepreneurship, 5,951 companies were established by women in Scotland in 2021, a figure that has more than doubled since 2018. Female-founded businesses also accounted for a record share of new firms across the UK, outstripping growth in male led firms for the first time.
Despite these advances, the report’s authors warned that the impact of Covid risks holding back further progress. They noted that female entrepreneurs have spent twice as long on caring responsibilities during the pandemic as their male counterparts, and that their businesses have been 62 per cent less likely to recover from the pandemic.
First undertaken in 2019 on behalf of the Treasury under the leadership of NatWest chief executive Alison Rose, the independent review found that if women started and scaled up new businesses at the same rate as men, as much as £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy. It has led to the introduction of various initiatives to support women looking to start their own business.
Commenting on the release of today’s progress update, Ms Rose said women “still don’t receive all the support they need”, and more must be done to achieve the goals set out in the original report.
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“Data shows that more women than ever are starting new businesses and we must harness this potential,” she said.
“That means more financial institutions committing to delivering change and funding. We also need more direct support for businesses across the UK and we must propose fresh, imaginative solutions to the challenges posed by women’s caring responsibilities.”
More than 140,000 companies were established by all-women teams in the UK last year, and that figure is growing by a third annually. The proportion of companies created by young women is growing faster than any other age group, with those between the ages of 16 and 25 founding more than 14,000 new businesses in the UK last year.