Increase in the number of female-founded, fast-growing enterprises - X-Forces Enterprise
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Increase in the number of female-founded, fast-growing enterprises

Women in Business

During Women’s History Month 2022, we're celebrating female entrepreneurs within the X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) family, and beyond. Our Founder, Ren Kapur MBE, is a renowned champion in this field, as evidenced by her work with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Women in Enterprise, but perhaps most tangibly through XFE itself.

Almost thirty per cent of XFE's beneficiaries are female - a remarkable figure within the context of the military community we support - and this cohort features some remarkable and truly inspiring stories of entrepreneurial success. Fans of BBC's Dragons' Den will have witnessed the stunning performance of XFE Ambassador and RAF veteran Hannah Saunders earlier this month, resulting in an investment of £60k from Deborah Meaden and Stephen Bartlett to fund the next stage of development for her innovative business Toddle.

Another XFE Ambassador and veteran smashing barriers and flying high is Leona Barr-Jones, a Sandhurst graduate who reached the rank of Colonel within the British Army. Nowadays, Leona is COO of the award winning marketing and branding agency Focus7, a leading expert in diversity and inclusion, a recipient of the IoD Director of the Year, and a Soldiering On Awards winner.

Increase in number of fast-growing businesses founded by women

A fantastic new article on the Enterprise Nation website reports that fast-growing companies set up in the UK by women have risen by more than a third since 2020, according to new figures from the ScaleUp Institute.

The organisation said there are now 261 businesses with at least one female founder that have sales in excess of £10.2m or assets of more than £5.1m, the Companies House threshold for full accounts filing. That's an increase of 34.5% since 2020.

Collectively, the firms have a turnover of £14bn, up 41% compared to two years ago, and they employ 64,995 people. The most popular sector is professional services which accounts for 42% of the companies. That's followed by manufacturing at 22%.

Two thirds of the businesses are based outside of London and 37% are 5-10 years old, with 20% trading for more than two decades. Many have big ambitions with 50% expecting growth of more than 20% in 2022 and 30% predicting more than 50%.

Five in 10 of the female founded scale-ups are exporting and 70% provide opportunities to young people in apprenticeships, internships and work experience. When it comes to barriers to growth, 62% said accessing talent was the biggest challenge, followed by 60% who said expanding into new markets in the UK and overseas.

Tracking down debt and equity finance was highlighted as a challenge by 38% of the female founders, reflecting numerous other studies that show the issues many women face with finding funding. Half of those surveyed by the ScaleUp Institute said they did not feel confident about having the right amount and type of funding in place. The key barriers to accessing finance were not knowing any investors, terms and conditions of finance and giving up control of their businesses.

Challenges faced by female entrepreneurs

When it comes to barriers to growth, 62% said accessing talent was the biggest challenge, followed by 60% who said expanding into new markets in the UK and overseas.

Tracking down debt and equity finance was highlighted as a challenge by 38% of the female founders, reflecting numerous other studies that show the issues many women face with finding funding. Half of those surveyed by the ScaleUp Institute said they did not feel confident about having the right amount and type of funding in place.

The key barriers to accessing finance were not knowing any investors, terms and conditions of finance and giving up control of their businesses.

To read the full article, which first appeared on the excellent Enterprise Nation website, click here

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