Commissioned in 2019, the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship highlighted that women-led businesses need awareness of and access to funding options. The most recent update to the review - The Rose Review Progress Report 2022 on female entrepreneurship – revealed that more women than ever are starting businesses, but cautions that there is still more to do. The Rose Review originally highlighted that if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men, up to £250bn of new value could be added to the UK economy. With extra funding, female-owned businesses could: \tExperience significant growth and development. \tAdd more to the economy. \tImprove innovation across a variety of sectors and industries. \tCreate more national and local employment opportunities. \tHelp mentor other female entrepreneurs. \tHelp to close the gender pay gap. But the Progress Report shows that the impact of Covid-19 risks holding back progress. It suggests that despite the rapid growth in female led start-ups, female entrepreneurs have spent twice as long on caring responsibilities during the pandemic as their male counterparts, and that their businesses have been less likely to recover. On top of this, the recent economic turmoil of the past year has made accessing finance even more challenging – with many business banks tightening their loan criteria, whilst the cost of borrowing has increased with interest rate rises. Against this backdrop, more and more SME owners are turning to alternative finance providers who often have a more flexible approach to lending to businesses with operations that might not fit the banks’ funding profile. The recently published British Business Bank’s Small Business Finance Markets 2022/23 report found £35.5 billion of SME lending came from challenger and specialist banks in 2022. This exceeded lending by the major banks during the period, giving challenger and specialist banks a 55% share of the market. Changing landscape According to the Entrepreneurs Network, male entrepreneurs are “86% more likely than women to secure venture capital funding” and “56% more likely to win the backing of an angel investor”. John Rozenbroek, COO at Capify, believes that alternative finance has a big part to play in readdressing the balance in the funding landscape. “Alternative finance providers like Capify were part of a wave of financial innovation that came to the fore to meet the challenges after the 2008 financial crisis. These innovators are now going to be a huge part of solving today’s economic challenges, including improving funding access to women”. Rozenbroek sates that the models of alternative finance providers are uniquely well-positioned to help meet the significant issues of women-owned SMEs underrepresentation in the funding landscape. “At Capify, we pride ourselves on treating each funding case on its individual and particular circumstances. Unlike many finance providers, who take a more automated evaluation of their loans and who have recently restricted their funding criteria, we continue to back businesses who have met rejection elsewhere. We know that seeking an injection of funding can feel like a daunting task – but it doesn’t need to be. We encourage female entrepreneurs to explore all the available funding solutions available to them”. If you are a female SME owner with a finance need, we’d love to hear from you. You can find out how much you might be eligible to borrow, and the terms of that loan, with our simple loan calculator tool here. If you’d prefer to talk to a member of our team, we’d be happy to guide you through the process. Give us a call today on 0800 151 0980 How female owners can use a business loan If a crucial part of your business plan needs funding, or you’re determined to improve a part of your service, a small business loan can be just the boost you need. Update and renovate your space and become more environmentally friendly Repaint, redecorate, knock down walls – whatever you want! With finance from Capify, you can make your business premises bigger, more useful, more stylish, or install essential appliances and equipment to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint. Invest in new equipment and stock Your business depends on its raw materials. Make sure you have everything you need to provide the best products and services. Speed up everyday tasks Make servicing your customers faster and easier. A small business loan can help you pay for efficient software and digital tools that can help you do more in less time. Market and advertise yourself Reach new potential customers through marketing campaigns that tell potential buyers about your product or service. Funding can help you focus your marketing efforts, roll out a smart strategy, and put the right time and resources into it.