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Business management

Rose Review 2022: a fresh drive to boost the number of female entrepreneurs

Three years ago, the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship identified the importance of women-led businesses to the UK economy.

The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, first published in March 2019, demonstrated that up to £250bn of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men.

Although recent trends since the publication of the Rose Review are encouraging, particularly in light of the challenging environment created by the Covid-19 pandemic, an unacceptable disparity between men and women remains. 

The Alison Rose Review Progress Report 2022 sets out fresh commitments to boost the number of female entrepreneurs and accelerate momentum to make sure women in business have the same opportunities as men. 

The key steps forward for female entrepreneurship include:
  • More women than ever are starting new companies and women are taking up a bigger proportion of the landscape than ever before. More than 140,000 companies were set up by all-female teams last year, representing year-on-year growth of over a third.
  • Female founders are also better supported, with tens of thousands of entrepreneurs across the UK benefiting from advice and mentoring schemes, and thousands of students receiving enterprise training.
  • Measurement and disclosure are powerful instruments of change. Since its launch, 134 organisations with a combined investment power of nearly £1trn have signed up to the Investing in Women Code, committing them to improve the potential for female entrepreneurs to succeed.
The impact of the pandemic on female entrepreneurship

The latest progress report recognises that the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in starting and scaling their businesses. 

In the three years since the Rose Review was first published, the £250bn that could be added to the economy is only just being realised.

  • While over 140,000 all-female-founded companies were created in 2021, female-led businesses are still not receiving their fair share of funding.
  • A 17% increase in female Total early-stage Entrepreneurial Activity has been recorded since 2018, but new businesses are still almost three times as likely to be started by men than by women.
  • Despite a concerted effort to break down the barriers for working women with caring responsibilities, female entrepreneurs spent six to 10 more hours per week on childcare than they did before the pandemic – twice the increase reported by their male counterparts.
  • Female entrepreneurs with dependants have been worse affected by the pandemic, with their businesses 62% less likely to have recovered than those of their peers without dependants.
The next steps forward to support women in business

The Alison Rose Review Progress Report 2022 sets out progress made since the Rose Review was published in 2019, and what still needs to be done. The UK can still achieve the target of boosting the number of female entrepreneurs by 600,000 by the end of the decade. 

Over the coming year, a range of initiatives will be launched to boost access to and awareness of funding, to seek solutions to the challenges posed to entrepreneurs by their caring responsibilities, and to enable entrepreneurship through enhanced support, networking and education.

Alison Rose, NatWest CEO, says: “With fresh thinking, swift action and a redoubled effort, we can continue to work together to achieve our ambitions and unleash the untapped potential of female-led businesses to drive our economic recovery.”

Download the Report

Alison Rose Review Progress Report 2022 (PDF, 7.1MB)

Download the Infographic

Alison Rose Review Progress Report 2022 (PDF, 69KB)

This material is published by NatWest Group plc (“NatWest Group”), for information purposes only and should not be regarded as providing any specific advice. Recipients should make their own independent evaluation of this information and no action should be taken, solely relying on it. This material should not be reproduced or disclosed without our consent. It is not intended for distribution in any jurisdiction in which this would be prohibited. Whilst this information is believed to be reliable, it has not been independently verified by NatWest Group and NatWest Group makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) of any kind, as regards the accuracy or completeness of this information, nor does it accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage arising in any way from any use made of or reliance placed on, this information. Unless otherwise stated, any views, forecasts, or estimates are solely those of the NatWest Group Economics Department, as of this date and are subject to change without notice.

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