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Beyond the Business Plan – What do Women Entrepreneurs Need Now?

You don’t need to be a female founder to recognise the difficulties women entrepreneurs face in scaling their businesses, you don’t even need to be a female! Just read the business papers and research on how many billions of pounds can be added to the UK economy by supporting female founders (£250 billion at last count).
As a seasoned consultant with over three decades of experience working closely with female leaders and founders, I’ve witnessed the remarkable drive and innovation they bring to the entrepreneurial landscape. Yet, it’s disheartening to acknowledge the persistent challenges many of these talented women entrepreneurs face in growing their businesses and personal development.
Research indicates various factors contributing to these struggles. A recent GOV UK Task Force Report makes interesting reading, and outlines strategies for improvement. One significant aspect is the pervasive gender gap in access to funding.
The Female Founders Report sponsored by British Bank highlights the scale of the problem:
Key findings
  • for every £1 of venture capital (VC) investment in the UK, all-female founder teams get less than 1p, all-male founder teams get 89p, and mixed-gender teams 10p.
  • venture capital investment in start-ups with female founders is increasing but progress is very slow. At current rates, for all-female teams to reach even 10% of all deals will take more than 25 years (until 2045).
  • 83% of deals that UK VCs made last year had no women at all on the founding teams.
Moreover, societal expectations and biases often impose additional burdens on female founders, impacting their confidence and decision-making processes
Personal growth can also be stunted by systemic barriers and lack of mentorship opportunities. Women may struggle to find relatable role models or encounter unconscious biases that hinder their advancement
In the journey of entrepreneurship, the need for robust support systems to nurture leadership skills, manage expanding teams, and bolster self-confidence becomes paramount, especially for female founders. Leadership development goes beyond conventional business skills; it encompasses emotional intelligence, effective communication, and the ability to inspire and motivate others
Effective team management is another critical aspect, particularly as businesses grow. Female founders often find themselves navigating uncharted waters in managing diverse teams, balancing individual strengths and weaknesses, and fostering a culture of collaboration and inclusivity
Moreover, building self-confidence is a continuous journey fraught with obstacles, including imposter syndrome, fear of failure, and external scrutiny. Support networks and mentorship programs play a pivotal role in helping female founders overcome these barriers, providing a safe space for vulnerability and growth.
The recent report from Beauhurst on the Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs in the UK makes for encouraging reading.
However, amidst these challenges lie opportunities for change. By fostering inclusive ecosystems, providing targeted support, and amplifying female voices in leadership roles, we can pave the way for a more equitable and prosperous future for all entrepreneurs .
There are many individuals and organisations who are working together to champion diversity and empower female founders to thrive, both professionally and personally. Together, we can unlock their full potential and shape a more inclusive entrepreneurial landscape.
If you are a female leader or founder and would like to discover more about what your next steps should be to scale successfully and keep your sanity – give me a call!fe
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