BGF named most active investor in female-led scale-ups by Scale-Up Institute

BGF has released the first ever report into the attitudes of female leaders at growth economy companies. According to a survey of 152 female executives, board members, senior managers, owners and partners of businesses, 72 per cent of those surveyed are motivated to grow their business this year.

Also announced today, BGF has been named the leading investor in female-led scale-up businesses last year, according to new research from the Scale Up Institute. In 2020, BGF investments were made into female-led companies in the fields of technology, clean growth, life sciences and retail.
 
Through its network of non-executive directors and chairs, the largest of its kind in the UK, 11 women were also appointed by BGF-backed businesses to their Boards in the same time period.
 
Analysis by the Scale-Up Institute has shown a phenomenal year-on-year increase in female founded scale ups of 93 per cent, a 110 per cent increase in aggregate turnover and a 96 per cent increase in total employment.

BGF’s research follows last year’s announcement that Coutts, the Private Banking arm of NatWest, together with BGF, is set to launch The UK Enterprise Fund to bring additional funding and support to entrepreneurs across the UK. It will identify and address equity gaps across the whole of the entrepreneurial ecosystem, with specific initiatives and programmes for female-led businesses.

Stephen Welton, executive chair of BGF, says: “The Scale-Up Institute’s analysis of the growth in female-led businesses shows significant process, and it is critical that the investment industry keeps pace. We recognise diversity is an asset and investors will miss out on an opportunity to back more high-potential businesses if female-led companies are not better supported.
 
“BGF has backed brilliant female entrepreneurs but there is more we need to do, which is why we’re taking part in initiative such as The Diversity Project and why we’re launching with Coutts, The UK Enterprise Fund. We won’t rest until we are investing in as diverse a group of founders as possible.”
 
Data from BGF’s report has showed that on the whole women are more inclined to be positive about their growth prospects than men, with 46 per cent saying that Covid-19 has presented opportunities for growth (compared to 39 per cent of the men).
 
Female respondents also showed a large degree of adaptability: six in 10 said that the pandemic has triggered permanent changes to their business models and female respondents were more likely than their male counterparts to be entering new sectors.
 
It appears that continued investment is seen as critical by female respondents. 89 per cent said their business had made some form of internal investment during Covid-19, including digital infrastructure (39 per cent) and entering new sectors (35 per cent).
 
Jane Vinson, head of portfolio, South, at BGF, says: “We’re proud to be the most active investor in female led companies but recognise that the figures themselves still remain small when compared to the rest of the portfolio. We’ve seen remarkable resilience and innovation from the female founders we’ve backed and continue to meet more brilliant women in business who demonstrate these traits. This is just the beginning of our journey to ensuring the diversity of companies in our investment portfolio.”