The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has taken a further step in its commitment to supporting an increase in women in enterprise as its FSB Business Banking service, provided by The Co-operative Bank, was one of the first signatories of the Investing in Women Code, launched last week at a reception in Downing Street.
The new Code represents an important commitment to supporting female entrepreneurship in the UK by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance needed to build a business, with many banks and venture capital firms signalling their support.
This comes after a recent FSB report revealed that women are increasingly becoming the job creators and growth drivers within enterprise. The report, ‘Supporting Women’s Enterprise in the UK: The Economic Case’, shows that women owned businesses now contribute a staggering £105bn to the UK economy (analysing data from 2012 – 2015). Despite this, women still face a number of barriers to entrepreneurship, a significant one of which is access to finance, according to FSB research.
Julie Lilley, Chief Executive at FSB, said: “Developing and supporting women’s enterprise is critically important for the UK’s economic prosperity and, as an organisation we’re walking the talk on this. Increasing access to finance for women entrepreneurs is key. For FSB Business Banking to be one of the founding signatories of the Investing in Women Code is another step in the right direction.”
Deborah Turner (pictured), FSB Women in Enterprise Lead and Kent Area Leader, said: “In Kent, where FSB hosts a business networking event almost every week, FSB members will be encouraging businesses to sign the Code. We will continue to actively encourage women in business and support them in finding the right funding, advice and support.”
The Investing in Women Code comes after an independent review – commissioned by the Treasury and headed up by Alison Rose, Deputy CEO of NatWest – identified barriers faced by female entrepreneurs and what could be done to overcome them. The Rose Review found that only one in three entrepreneurs are women, and that businesses run by women are on average half the size of firms led by men.