A government-funded report in Europe said a lack of available capital for women in the country was “holding the U.K. back.”
In response to the news, some British banks are springing to action, including two of the largest: Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Lloyds, who both said they would publish data on investment gaps between male- and female-led businesses.
The report came from the largest unit of RBS, called NatWest, by Deputy Chief Executive Alison Rose. It was published on International Women’s Day, which is on Friday (Mar. 8).
“Targeted intervention really does make a difference; it has a massive impact,” Rose said. “What I’ve tried to do is identify barriers and then look at what targeted intervention can do to frankly unlock all this potential we have sitting here in the U.K.”
The report found some clear statistics showing that women don’t get the same opportunities that men do in business. For example, only 6 percent of women in the U.K. actually run their own businesses. That number is higher in Canada (15 percent), America (11 percent), Australia (9 percent) and the Netherlands (also 9 percent).
The biggest reason, the report found, was a lack of access to funding. The report said fewer than 1 percent of venture capital funding goes to all-female teams.
U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said the report clearly demonstrated the need for action. “Alison and her team set out an ambitious path to break this glass ceiling so that we can realize the full potential of female entrepreneurs and boost economic growth,” she said.
Rose said NatWest saw a great response from a 150-million pound fund for female-led businesses, with a 10 percent jump in female entrepreneur investments and a 20 percent jump in business accounts opened by women.