Cross-industry leaders launch Invest in Women Hub to support female entrepreneurs

Pollen Street Capital leads latest Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs (CIFE) initiative addressing the findings of the Alison Rose Review

Leading financial institutions, advisory services companies and government organisations have collaborated to create the Invest in Women Hub, an innovative resource run by the Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs (CIFE), aiming to accelerate female entrepreneurship. The Council is the industry advisory group for the Rose Review Board.

Members of the CIFE* today launch the Invest in Women Hub to reach more female entrepreneurs to share knowledge and improve access for those in need of funding and support, and create direct opportunities to share expertise, networks and inspiration.

The Council members have used their collective resources to bring the voice of entrepreneurs to the hub, which will be widely shared across their business networks, aimed at female entrepreneurs leading early stage and scale up businesses. The collaboration of the organisations will facilitate broad promotion of the hub as a single port of call for female entrepreneurs, across private and public organisations throughout the UK.

Expert content and input was provided by leading financial institutions, law firms, private equity investors and advisory services companies including the British Business Bank, BVCA, UKBAA, the Scale-up Institute, UK Finance, UBS, Goldman Sachs, Pollen Street Capital, Simmons & Simmons, AA Advisors, KPMG, Coutts, Adelpha, Astia, Diversity VC and JP Morgan.

Resources on the hub fall into five key areas:

1. Funding know-how

2. Business know-how

3. Family support

4. Inspiration

5. Covid and Brexit support

The Invest in Women Hub also has a dedicated direct contact resource to facilitate connections across the UK regions, making relevant advice and guidance even easier to access. This resource is supported by KPMG.

Commenting on the Invest in Women Hub, Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group said:

‘The latest findings of the Rose Review show that the pandemic has compounded the difficulties and obstacles faced by many women in starting, continuing and scaling their business. Against this backdrop, good progress has been made this year in supporting female-led businesses, and today’s launch of the Invest in Women hub is another fantastic example of the industry collaboration that now takes place.

The hub should help ensure that female entrepreneurs have greater oversight of the opportunities that are open to them, whether that’s through funding, mentoring or inspiration, in turn levelling up the playing field for business owners that could generate up to £250billion for the UK economy.”

Alexandra Daly, CEO and Founder of AA Advisors and co-chair of the Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs added:

“A huge thank-you to everyone who has assisted in originating our hub. The team took a thought and built a vision. The reality is a one-stop-shop of information that we hope will inspire and assist female entrepreneurs to achieve their goals. Special thanks to Lindsey McMurray and team at Pollen Street Capital and Emma Wheeler at UBS - your tireless work has hugely contributed to this superb achievement. Thanks too to the British Business Bank for providing technical guidance with launch preparations. I’m very proud of the Council’s achievement launching the hub and the collaborative nature in which it was created.”

Paul Scully, MP and Parliamentary Under Secretary for State (Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets) said:

“Tackling barriers faced by female entrepreneurs will make a huge difference as we build back better from the pandemic.

The world of business should be open to everyone, and this new Invest in Women Hub will give budding entrepreneurs the tools they need to start and grow their business.

With supportive networks to share knowledge with, advice on accessing funding and much more all in one place, the Hub will be a great resource for the UK’s female entrepreneurs and innovators.”

About the Rose Review into Female Entrepreneurship:

The creation of the Invest in Women hub follows the publication of NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose’s review of female entrepreneurship in 2019 - The Rose Review - which found:

· Just 13% of senior people on UK investment teams are women

· Almost half (48%) of investment teams have no women at all

· Only 1% of UK venture funding goes to to all-female founders

· Only 4% of deals relate to all-female founded teams

The Rose Review into Female Entrepreneurship was fronted by NatWest Group’s CEO Alison Rose, at the request of the UK Government, and set out to identify the disparities between male and female entrepreneurs when starting and scaling businesses, and the barriers facing women which cause this.

The review was published in March 2019 and identified five key barriers that influence women’s ability to start, scale and grow new businesses, compared with men. NatWest Group publishes an annual update on progress made within the industry each March.

About The Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs

The Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs was established in 2019 as a response to the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, is sponsored by HM Treasury and BEIS and brings together leading investment firms and institutions to tackle barriers faced by female entrepreneurs. Its three working groups have this year published best practice guidelines for Venture Capital firms (VCs), launched the Invest in Women hub and are developing guidelines for Limited Partners (LPs) and General Partners (GPs).

The Council members are:

* AA Advisors, Adelpha, Atomico, Astia, the British Business Bank, BP Ventures, BVCA, Coutts, Diversity VC, Goldman Sachs, IH International Advisors, J.P.Morgan, KPMG, Morgan Stanley, Owl Rock Capital, Pollen Street Capital, Schroders, Simmons & Simmons and UBS.

Impact of the Rose Review:

In direct response to the Rose Review, several meaningful structures have been put in place with regard to UK female entrepreneurship:

1. The Investing in Women Code is a commitment to support female entrepreneurship in the UK by improving women's access to the advice, resources and finance needed to build a business and we recommend that all financial organisations become signatories to the Investing in Women Code to support the advancement of female entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom by improving access to tools, resources and finance from the financial services sector. See signatories.

2. The Rose Review Board and Council has proudly supported the Diversity VC Standard, an assessment and certification process that sets a benchmark for best practice on Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) in VC and sends a signal that a fund follows best D&I practices to the rest of the ecosystem.

3. The Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs was formed in 2019 to find solutions and increase the amount of funding from the alternatives and venture capital (VC) communities going to all female‐founder businesses. The Council includes representatives from leading institutional investors and investment banks as well as advisory services companies and legal firms.

4. The Invest in Women Hub, the online information hub for female entrepreneurs to help start and scale their businesses, including resources to help get funding.

5. The Guidelines for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Institutional Investors have been published to offer practical advice and best practice examples for investors looking to improve diversity, inclusion and returns. View the diversity guidelines for Venture Capital, Private Equity and Institutional Investors.