International Women’s Day: Will the Murky History of Gender Bias Continue in a Post-Brexit Future?
With Brexit one month away, the microscope has been placed on businesses and investors to investigate how the UK economy will fare outside of the European Union. With the challenges and opportunities that Brexit may present to us, are we utilizing our full armoury of internationally-facing business leaders and investors? A funding gap between businesses run by men and those run by women clearly does not reflect the equality needed to drive forward the private sector. On the 2019 International Women’s Day, the trade association for EIS, the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association and alternative finance house IW Capital have unveiled a nationally representative report dissecting the inequality of the investment sector.
Today’s index reiterates a study conducted by the UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA) which showed the disparity between the potential investment available for men and women. It found that over half (54%) of female angel investors had backed at least one female-founded business whilst only a small minority of male investors had done the same. This is worsened by the finding that men are three times more likely to have greater than £250,000 of investible assets available than women (9% of men vs 3% of women).
- Men are three times more likely than women to have over £250,000 of investible assets available
- 54% of women investors back female-founded businesses
- Only 1% of Venture Capital funding goes to wholly women led businesses
- Fewer than one in five small and medium-sized enterprises in the U.K. are led by women
- Two-thirds of women felt they had not been taken seriously by potential investors when raising money for new ventures
- Just 9% of U.K. start-up funding goes to women-run businesses
Luke Davis, CEO and Founder of IW Capital – commented on the findings: “Optimum productivity across our private sector can only be secured by utilising the full capacity of this nation’s diverse talent pool. Failing to do so will of course impede the growth and success of our economy, with up to 50% of the potential and subsequent productivity being restricted.”
The CEO also pointed out that the SME arena contributed £1.9 trillion to the UK’s economy in 2017 and so making sure that it has the widest possible pool of talent to draw from is vital. As the backbone of the private sector, they will be a huge factor in determining the success of Brexit in March and onwards. International Women’s Day sheds light on the need to encourage investment into female-founded businesses which is clearly something that must be improved upon through legislation as well as fostering an environment in which women feel that they have the support and resources available to start businesses.
Likewise, Mark Brownridge, Director General of the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association, commented in the same vine: “On International Women’s Day, the Enterprise Investment Scheme Association, is keen to assist anyone who wants to get their business off the ground, find investment, or even become an investor. The business landscape is changing, and while the research does not paint a wholly positive picture for female investment, we are committed to changing this and giving everyone the opportunity to receive the investment they need, or become an investor themselves, regardless of gender.”