Female-led businesses contribute £105bn to UK economy per year but many sectors are “hardwired” against them

Women entrepreneurs rock. However, few female leaders get the top jobs in high growth sectors, new research from Facebook and FSB shows

Female-led businesses contribute £105bn to UK economy per year but many sectors are “hardwired” against them

Female founders face many more obstacles compared to their male counterparts when setting up a business. From convincing VCs that their idea is worth the investment to dealing with blatant sexism when creating new products, it’s no less than a huge mountain to scale. However, irrespective of these adversities, female-led businesses boost the UK economy by £105bn, according to new research from Facebook and the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). 

The report Supporting Women’s Enterprise in the UK: The Economic Case was launched at Facebook Community Boost, an initiative by Facebook to boost diversity, on Tuesday November 13. It revealed that companies led by woman have increased their input to the UK economy by 40% since 2012. Additionally, women were responsible for a 26% increase in driving employment. In the UK, Wales and Northern Ireland were among the ones who reaped the most benefits through female owned businesses in their economies.

But it’s not all good news. While women are shattering the glass ceiling steadily in many sectors, equality in higher growth industries continues to see a gap. The report showed the gross value add through female founders in the high profits industries like manufacturing dropped from 14.9% to 11% between 2012 and 2015.

Commenting on the report, Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook’s vice president EMEA, said: “It’s unacceptable that our culture is still hardwired against women in leadership roles. Until that changes we must all find ways to get behind the women who want to step forward and lead, to give them the skills and courage to succeed. We need more women starting and growing businesses and more women sitting at the table, whether it’s pitching new business ideas or developing new products.”

Also commenting on the next steps to be executed, Carolyn Currie, CEO of Women’s Enterprise Scotland, which compiled the report for FSB, said: “With dedicated resources and support women owned businesses have the opportunity to harness the momentum already created and continue to grow their economic impact and value across all areas of the UK and all sectors.”

While the report clearly defines how far women have come, it can’t be denied that there’s still much to do to reach true equality in the business ecosystem. Indeed, supporting female founders through funding and development will only prove to be increasingly beneficial and evidence points towards the fact that when females are in charge, it’s a win-win for everyone.

Varsha Saraogi
Varsha Saraogi

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