The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is aiming to increase the number of women entrepreneurs accessing alternative finance (AltFin) in the run up to International Women’s Day on 8 March.
The UK currently has 5.7 million small businesses and self-employed, but it is estimated that could be boosted by a further 1.2 million new enterprises led by women.
The untapped business potential of women is, in part, due to a lack of awareness of, and access to, available finance, according to FSB research.
FSB has now launched a new FCA regulated funding platform giving access to a choice of over 120 lenders, matched to the applicants’ needs and circumstances.
Julie Lilley, FSB’s chief operating officer, said: “A key FSB recommendation has been to improve access to finance for women entrepreneurs because it would boost women entrepreneurship in the UK. 25% of women small business owners cited the ability to access finance as a key challenge.
“Women entrepreneurs have traditionally been less likely to seek alternative finance than their male counterparts, with too many women relying on personal cash and credit for growth. The reasons for this are complex, but, in part are to do with a lack of awareness of the opportunities available, as well as a perceived risk.
“There’s still more to be done to fully harness the untapped potential of women in business, but this new platform is a step in the right direction.”
As well as raising awareness of alternative finance to women in enterprise, FSB will be marking International Women’s Day on 8 March as it is committed to forging positive visibility of women in enterprise and celebrating their achievements.
FSB’s ‘100 FSB Women’ campaign will include a series of events as well as featuring advice from 100 women entrepreneurs to other women, in recognition of this year marking 100 years since the first women gained the right to vote.