Female entrepreneurs typically start businesses with half as much capital as men, damning report finds

Anna Mikhailova
A review by RBS executive Alison Rose will for the first time demonstrate the scale of the barriers facing women who want to start their own businesses - JULIAN SIMMONDS

Female entrepreneurs typically have to start businesses with only half as much capital as men, a damning new report will show on Thursday.

The Rose Review, commissioned by the Treasury, will for the first time demonstrate the scale of the barriers facing women who want to start their own businesses.

The report, conducted by RBS executive Alison Rose, was inspired by the Telegraph's Women Mean Business campaign, which has highlighted the funding gap female entrepreneurs face.

If women were able to start businesses at the same rate as men, there would be 1.1million more female-led companies in the UK, the review’s findings will show.

On Friday the Treasury will pledge to have 600,000 more women starting their own businesses by 2030, as part of a range of measures responding to the Rose Review.

Banks and investment funds will also be urged to sign up to a new Investing in Women Code to track the amount of funding they give female entrepreneurs.

The Code will report on progress annually and suggest steps financial firms can take to close the funding gap for female entrepreneurs.

The review will also recommend launching new banking products aimed at women, to provide extra flexibility to those juggling a business and childcare costs.

A year ago the Telegraph launched its campaign to break down barriers female entrepreneurs face.

In September Robert Jenrick, the Treasury minister, commissioned Ms Rose, head of RBS 's commercial bank, to lead an independent review into the challenges highlighted by the campaign.

Women-only funding teams were given £32 million in investment in 2017, while male-only teams received more than £5 billion, according to official figures from the British Business Bank.

Treasury minister Robert Jenrick commissioned the Rose review Credit: Chris McAndrew / UK Parliament

Start-ups run by women receive just 0.5 per cent of the total invested by venture capital funds - its lowest level in a decade.

The Investing in Women Code is one of  a range of announcements the government will make on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.

Other measures will include action to protect women from “cyber flashing”, which refers to the practice of sending unwanted images of male genitals to women online or on their phones.

A YouGov survey last year showed 41 per cent of 18 to 36-year-old women had received such images, which they found threatening and distressing.

Following its ban on upskirting, the government will now look at options for preventing cyber-flashing.

It will draw on recommendations by MPs on the Women and Equalities Committee, which has called for "a new law on image-based sexual abuse which criminalises all non-consensual creation and distribution of intimate sexual images".

The changes will be part of a new version of the government’s Violence against Women and Girls strategy. Ministers will also commission research into "what links exist between consumption of online pornography and harmful attitudes towards women and girls" and introduce a statutory code of practice for employers on sexual harassment.