September 23, 2009 in Entrepreneurship

Myths and Realities of Womens’ Access to Finance

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A recent report commissioned by the UK based Women’s Enterprise Task Force (WETF) dispels the myth that female businesses owners are charged more than men for loans by banks. The report also found that women tend to be better at repayment than their male counterparts and that their businesses are often seen by banks as lower risk.
Other key findings include:
*women succeed at or above the rates of men when seeking bank finance, which is a major encouragement to women thinking of starting up in business in this challenging climate.
*women are less likely than men to have been rejected due to poor business planning, and are less likely to have been unable to make a repayment on loans, suggesting that women can be better at managing their business finances.
*women are less likely than men to have the knowledge and confidence to access venture capital and equity funding, which can be productive sources of growth finance. To address this issue, the WETF inspired the creation of the Aspire Fund, a co-investment fund that targets high-growth women-owned businesses. The fund has made its first investment and is considering further ventures.
*women constitute more than half of the population and 46% of the British labour market however they are less than half as likely as men to start a business, and make up only 28% of the self-employed. Even with this under-representation, it is estimated that women’s enterprise contributes £130 billion turnover and £70 billion GVA each year to the British economy. If British women were to reach the enterprise levels of their US counterparts, there would be an estimated 900,000 more start-ups and £23 billion more GVA each year.
To read the report in full, visit the Women’s Enterprise Task Force website.

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