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Female founded scaleups on the up

Great news from the ScaleUp Institute’s Female Founders Index 2023 which has identified 623 female-founded scaleups that have crossed the threshold of £10.2m turnover and/or £5.1m in assets.

The institute breaks this down into 454 scaleups and 169 pipeline scaleups – a 70% increase for the former and almost triple for the latter on 2022’s figures. A visible scaleup is defined as those with Companies House filings thresholds of £10.2 million in annual turnover and/or £5.1m in assets. A pipeline scaleup are businesses growing between 10-19.99%.

Female founded scaleups across the UK

The report found that 7 out 10 of the scaleups were from outside of London. Female Founders Rise has recently been touring the UK and all events have sold-out. It’s brilliant to see women-led businesses are thriving around the country.

Angel investors leading the way in investment for women

Angels were out in front as investors in these scaleups, with 28 fundraisings identified. BGF ventures were next with 19 fundraisings and Crowdcube in third place with 12. This shows the importance of angel investors in the early-stage ecosystem, supporting founders to scale and grow.

Barriers for women-led business

Female founders identified access to markets as their top barrier to growth – with 77% of all founders surveyed reporting that as an issue. To address this, they would like more knowledge on opportunities to bid for contracts and to ‘meet the buyer’ both domestically and overseas. This barrier was followed by access to talent and perhaps surprisingly in third place, access to the right debt/equity finance. Female scaleup founders wanted to see the future workforce equipped with skills in people management, resilience and judgement and decision making.

We’d definitely recommend you take a look at the full report, there’s lots more data on funding, employment and female founders’ views on what’s needed in the education system and talent pipeline, read it here:

ScaleUp Institute Female Founders Index 2023