Women-led companies driving force of UK economy, finds report celebrating International Women’s Day

woman talking to crowd featuredWomen-led businesses are leading the charge across the UK, new data has revealed to mark International Women’s Day.


The data revealed that the average business annual turnover is 11,284,634, however women-led average annual turnover stands at 11,719,080.

The open-government and LinkedIN data-sets reveal how women-led UK companies grow, perform and rank.

The data, compiled by education technology not-for-profit, Founders4Schools, uses interactive cluster maps across the UK revealing the location of women-led businesses with £1 million to £250 million in revenue.

The service is supported by national organisation Doteveryone and Silicon Valley comes to the UK, which is a programme now run out of London & Partners designed to support scale ups.

The data has revealed that the 762 women-led business identified are expanding at a medium growth rate of 30% a year. Almost 60% of these companies are growing by 20% or more and 37% are growing by 50% or more.

Total revenues of the 762 business increased by more than £2 billion from the last year with a median annual revenue increase per woman­led company of £900,000.

The average revenue of women­led businesses was revealed to be £12 million pounds and on average, this was £2.3 million more than the previous year.

68% of the business were found to be headquartered outside of London. 
Greater London was found to have 273 women-led businesses (44 based in Camden) followed by Leeds 43 women-led firms.

Sherry Coutu, Martha Lane Fox, Joanna Shields, Neelie Kroes and Reid Hoffman and are amongst the world­leading entrepreneurs and business leaders to welcome the new service to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Sherry Coutu CBE, Chair of Founders4Schools and Author of the Scale­up Report said: “We are delighted to celebrate these women who are making a major contribution to UK economic growth. I hope by literally, putting them on the map they will find it easier to find the talent to hire to fill all those orders their customers are placing with them. I am hopeful that this will help them to attract the talent they need to fulfill the huge pipeline of customer orders they need, I am hopeful that this may also help them with their international expansion plans and perhaps even financing.

“I set up Founders4Schools to inspire young people to consider starting their own businesses.”

“I love the examples set by women like Anya Hindmarch, Lucinda Bruce­Gardyne at Genius Foods, Julie Deane from Cambridge Satchel Company and Kathryn Parsons from Decoded. The fact that we now have 762 examples available to inspire the next generation of girls about the impact they can also have on the world is very exciting.”

Of the 762 businesses 517 are from the tech sector (67%), with 300 of these growing 20% per annum and 188 growing 50% or more per annum.

Martha Lane Fox, Founder of Doteveryone said: “Whilst the data shows the tech sector accounts for 67% women­led businesses in the UK, there is so much more to be done. Women currently occupy just 17% of tech jobs and make up only 3% of partners in venture capital firms. Fewer than one in 10 of these women are in leadership positions within the sector and, perhaps most shockingly, women only hold 4% of software engineers.”

“On a global scale, it’s cited that women entrepreneurs are poised to lead the next wave of growth in tech, and the high­tech companies women build are more capital­efficient than the norm. If the UK is to leapfrog every other nation on this planet to become the most digital, most connected, most skilled and most informed on the planet ­ we urgently need to address the gender imbalance within the tech sector and ensure that our leaders, investors and entrepreneurs come from the widest pool of home­grown talent. This amazing new open data from Founders4schools will support those brilliant women who are helping drive the UK economy and will enable us to foster the maximum breadth and depth of digital talent that the UK has to offer.”

Internet Safety and Security Minister Baroness Shields said: “I am delighted that we now have the ability to identify and track the growth of female led businesses as a result of the UK government’s open data policy.”

“This report confirms that women­led business leadership contributes immensely to growth and innovation right across the UK and I commend these women and their organisations for making a significant impact on our economy.”

Also supporting the availability of the new data was Jacqueline de Rojas, President Tech UK, who said: “I am encouraged to see women in leadership positions all across the UK. If we are to ensure economic growth, Women, no matter where they live, must have the opportunity to take on senior roles. Job creation is not and must not be limited to London. We need to drive productivity right across the UK.”

Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group: “We have been long and vocal advocates of building a diverse economy; one constructed on a foundation of vibrant SMEs led by, and employing, as diverse a cross­section of the public as possible.

“That’s why we are so keen to support important initiatives and research such as this which demonstrate the huge benefits that dynamic, women­led organisations are bringing to the UK economy. As a community, we must continue to do more to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurism in young people across the country, to help create the next generation of British founders and business leaders.”

Kayleigh Bateman
About the author

Kayleigh Bateman is the head of digital content and business development at WeAreTheCity. As a journalist there she covers stories about women in IT and looks after its women in technology community. She was previously the special projects editor for Computer Weekly and editor of CW Europe. Kayleigh attended the University of Hertfordshire, where she studied for her BA in English literature, journalism and media cultures. You can contact her at [email protected]

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