The Government is committed to a cohesive society, where everyone – no matter what their background – has the opportunity to enter into and progress at work and achieve on merit. We know that companies with diverse workforces perform better and are more profitable. An inclusive economic policy is vital to the success of our Industrial Strategy.
Supporting female graduates is captured in our Government support offer which is available to all, regardless of gender, age or ethnicity. There are now 1.1 million female-led small and medium-sized businesses in the UK. This accounts for 19% of SMEs in the UK, 5% higher than in 2010. The Government is also pleased that the female employment rate is 71% and a higher percentage of women are on FTSE 350 company boards than ever before.
The Government-owned British Business Bank provides Start-Up Loans for individuals wishing to start a business and women account for 39% of recipients. The Bank is also conducting a review into the specific barriers female-led businesses face in accessing Venture Capital.
On 21 September 2018, HM Treasury also launched a review into the barriers women face getting into business. Businesswoman Alison Rose, Chief Executive of RBS Commercial and Private Banking, will lead the government review to identify the extent of these barriers and explore what can be done to overcome them. This review will bolster our work to make it easier for them to access the support they need to get their ideas off the ground and grow their businesses.