Gender disparity remains a huge issue in business. While a record number of women are starting businesses, female-owned brands still receive less investment than do male-led firms and female entrepreneurs need access to the funding they need.
Enter the Investing in Women Code. A UK, government-backed scheme designed to encourage businesses to invest in women by committing members to report data about their support for female-led businesses.
It’s voluntary, applies to all businesses with over 250 employees ‒ and it deserves emulation by other countries across the world. As of July 2022, 160 institutions have signed up to the Code, including five large banks and building societies, 30 Angel syndicates and at least 100 venture capital and growth capital firms.
The Code came into being after Alison Rose, CEO of Natwest Group, was asked to conduct a review into Female Entrepreneurship in 2019. Her Review found that “up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men.”
The Code includes guidelines on how businesses can support women through different stages of their careers, including recruitment, training and promotion. Businesses that sign up for the Code will be required to report annually on their progress in meeting the guidelines.
There will be more women in leadership positions in the future, and more companies will be catering to the needs of female consumers. This can only lead to positive change for the economy as a whole.
The Rose Review’s latest annual report surfaces research carried out by McKinsey & Co that shows that companies with the greatest gender diversity on their executive teams are 21% more likely to outperform peers on profitability and 27% more likely to create superior value.
The ultimate goal is to drive reform and long-term results.Alison Rose concedes in a recent article for the Daily Telegraph that many of the reforms that make a real difference for female entrepreneurship will come not from any single initiative like hers, but many small changes, not just inside large organisations, but in the decisions made by individual angels.
Over to you.