Funding boost for women-led businesses
In recognition of International Women’s Day, Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority is prioritising £1m in grant funding for female-led or female-owned SMEs across the region, as part of the new Growth Works service. The match funding will be available for businesses to invest in capital investment, professional or coaching services.
According to the 2019 Rose Review, the single biggest issue holding female entrepreneurs back is the lack of funding directed towards them. Female-led businesses receive less funding than those headed by men at every stage of their journey. Women launch businesses with 53% less capital on average than men, are less aware of funding options and are less likely to take on debt. This new female-specific fund helps to address this issue by contributing half the cost of growth investment in capital equipment or external advisory and coaching services.
Alongside the Investment Funds, YTKO’s GetSet Accelerate service, part of the new Growth Works consortium, are providing their renowned High Growth Programme for women entrepreneurs, which includes peer-matched workshops, 1:1 support, mentoring and coaching.
Over 2000 women have been through the High Growth Programme and testify to the transformational impact it has had on their strategic thinking and their ability to achieve their growth potential.
A report from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, 2019 states that women-led businesses, with employees, account for only 17% of all small businesses in the UK with the figure increasing slightly to 23% for businesses with no employees. However, women-led businesses in the UK generate 10 per cent more revenue, deliver double the return on investment for financial backers and are less likely to lead businesses that fail than their male counterparts.
If women chose to start and scale businesses at the same rate as men, it would add around £250 billion of new value to the UK. These new services from Growth Works will create a more diverse, inclusive and successful regional economy.
Feedback from one of YTKO’s programme participants said: “Not only did I get to meet an amazing array of fellow female entrepreneurs but I also went away with some concrete plans and ideas of how to drive myself and my business forward”.
Founder of Cofinitive, and Business Board member, Faye Holland said:
“Whilst our region has some excellent investors in female entrepreneurs, they are often focussed in quite specific sectors and technologies. It is exciting to hear that the new Growth Works service is assigning funds specifically for female entrepreneurship.
“It gives a clear message that our region invests in female entrepreneurship and mentorship, and further strengthens our commitment to creating a diverse set of entrepreneurs across all industries, which can only be good for our economy”.
YTKO CEO and Female Enterprise Ambassador, Bev Hurley, CBE says:
“Over half of our clients supported through YTKO programmes have been women, a track record we are extremely proud of.
“We have supported over 11,000 women-led businesses and 15,000+ female start-ups across the UK, and empowered their owners to thrive and grow. Our programme is created for women by women, and our facilitators comprise women who have all run their own successful companies and therefore understand first-hand the challenges facing our clients. We’re absolutely delighted to now be able to deliver this high quality growth support in the Combined Authority’s region.”
Mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough James Palmer said:
“By Marking International Women’s Day we are showing the tangible difference being made regionally to support women in business.
“I am delighted to support this 1 mill grant investment directed at female led or owned business. It is aimed at removing some of the barriers women face to capital and will support business growth for all across the region. “