The gender inequality in female-led businesses is still stubbornly high. However, women play an essential role in economic growth in the UK and around the globe.
Earlier in the blog series, we examined the gender inequality results in England and Scotland; now, we’ll take a closer look at Wales and Northern Ireland.
Interestingly, when it comes to female entrepreneurship, these two nations show varying disparities, suggesting that we are still far from the ideal situation.
Findings for Wales
Over two decades, improving entrepreneurial inclusivity has been a policy focus for Wales. The Welsh government has implemented numerous initiatives and acts to support women-led businesses and greater diversity, including The Well-being of Future Generations Act.
Welsh Female-Led Enterprises Had Greater Turnover Than the UK
One of the striking achievements in Wales is a much larger turnover growth rate compared to other UK countries.
The average revenue growth of female-led businesses in Wales is 21%, even though only 2.9% of Britain’s female-headed companies are in Wales. In the remainder of the UK, the turnover growth rate for female-led businesses is 17.8% in England, 16.63% in Scotland, and 18.16% in Northern Ireland. Contrastingly, average turnover growth rates in men-led firms are lower throughout the UK, except in the North East, demonstrating women’s potential and capacity to grow businesses at a steady pace.
Wales has a relatively high percentage of female-led businesses in education, health, wellness, and social services. Interestingly, the most impressive turnover growth was observed in construction, agriculture, forestry, and fishing.
Wales Dominates in Female-Led ‘High-Growth’ Startups
The general trend in the UK shows a more pronounced under-representation of female-run ‘high-growth’ ventures. However, Wales stands out by having the highest proportion of female-led companies across Britain (12.4% of Welsh companies are women-led against a UK average of 8.8%). This trend is particularly true in the education, health, well-being and social care sectors mentioned above.
There remains a lack of women leaders in financial services, manufacturing, IT, technology, agriculture, and real estate industries.
External Financing Is Comparable to the Rest of the UK
Women-owned businesses in Wales were able to acquire external financing at a rate of 19.4%, which is similar to 21.1% for the UK as a whole.
Moreover, Welsh enterprises have over 62,000 investors, with just under one-third being female. These results are comparable to those elsewhere in the UK (outside London).
The Data for Northern Ireland
Last year, Northern Ireland set out an economic objective to become an elite small advanced economy in the world by concentrating on innovation in areas where the country has strengths and creating a ten times better economy for everyone.
The country already has a strong reputation as the leading international investment destination for US cybersecurity firms, with Belfast ranking
among the world’s top ten cities for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). So, what’s the situation with female-led businesses?
Male-dominated Entrepreneurial Landscape
Despite the international reputation enjoyed by Northern Ireland, an overwhelming majority of companies are still led by males. Specifically, men run 65.1% of businesses, women own 13.5%, and the remainder is mixed leadership.
What sticks out, in particular, is a glaring imbalance between male and female-led high-growth ventures, with male firms overwhelmingly dominating these sectors.
Female and Mixed Leadership Companies Grow Faster
Perhaps one of the most interesting findings is that female-led and mixed leadership in small and large firms have grown faster than their male counterparts. However, only 0.17% of Northern Ireland’s companies were deemed to be achieving high growth.
In addition, out of these businesses, 77.7% were led by men, and only 9.8% by women (mixed-gender entrepreneurs founded the rest).
Northern Ireland Has the Lowest Investment in Women-led Enterprises
When it comes to raising additional capital, female-owned businesses attracted only 8.8% of total investment compared to 10.8% in Scotland, 12.0% in England and 12.0% in Wales. This regrettably illustrates the ongoing struggle for women to acquire investment capital.
Wrapping It Up
The Gender Index 2022 is the first attempt to capture the hard data and shed light on gender inequality in the UK’s businesses. Although certain parts of Britain, such as the London area, do show positive signs of improvement in female-led enterprises, as a whole, men still dominate the landscape and have better chances at raising funding.
At The 200 Billion Club, we want to challenge inequality and get female founders investment-ready with the help of our 12-week accelerator programme to prepare you for investment pitches and give you access to a network of investors looking for startups just like yours.