Alternative funding can drive female entrepreneurs forward
New funding opportunities could encourage more women to start and grow their own businesses.
The influence of women in the economy is growing with a 42% increase of the number of women starting their own business since 2010. Nowadays, almost a third of new businesses are founded by female entrepreneurs.
SMEs led by entrepreneurial women contribute £75bn to the UK economy, according to the House of Commons. In fact, Wesleyan Bank's SME Attitudes to Finance research highlighted that female business owners are achieving a higher turnover and profitability compared to their male counterparts.
Female role models
However, even though the situation is changing, the success of women in business still needs to be recognised and supported on a wider scale.
Facebook and the Federation of Small Businesses and Enterprise Nation worked on the #shemeansbusiness initiative to help women start and grow their own successful company. Their target is to encourage 10,000 more women a year in the UK to start their own business, bringing a £10bn boost to the economy within three years.
According to preliminary research, 72% of women who had considered starting a business hesitated because they couldn't identify with a role model running a company.
The concern about where to look for financial guidance and funding options was another perceived barrier.
Wesleyan Bank's 'SME's Attitudes to Finance' report found that 53% of women were more likely to approach a family member for funding advice rather than a bank and that 51% prefer to look for funding information on the internet instead of asking a financial lender.
The reason for this preference is partially due to fear of rejection because of the perception that high street banks are unreceptive to providing finance for new businesses.
Financial solutions tailored for SMEs
However, it is essential for women SME owners to understand other options available, besides online research and guidance from friends and family members.
Alternative finance providers, including Wesleyan Bank, offer flexible financial solutions tailored to the needs of a growing SME. Alternative providers can help businesses to access assets, such as specialist equipment and IT software, without upfront costs.
Applications for short-term working capital loans can be made online with Wesleyan Bank, which is a convenient and simple solution for the busy female entrepreneur.
Our experts can analyse business objectives to empower women SME owners to identify how different finance solutions could help them realise their ambitions, thus creating a more robust and sustainable strategic plan.
The future is looking bright for women-led businesses as more SME owners are acknowledging that alternative finance can be both a business lifeline and a growth accelerator.