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Half of women in business have had loan requests rejected

Limited access to funding is stopping more than half of women from launching new businesses, according to Tide research.

a woman in a black dress

Heather Cobb/Tide.

More than half of women in the UK see access to finance as their most significant hurdle to starting a business, and half of the women applying for loans and investments have had their requests rejected.

This is despite there being more female founders than ever before, and all-female-led companies now accounting for 20 per cent of businesses in the UK.

Around a fifth of women specifically cited gender as a barrier, according to research by Tide, which surveyed around 2,000 of its members.

The digital business financial platform, which had aimed to help 100,000 female-led businesses to get started by the end of 2023, has already helped more than 110,000.

“Meeting our target to onboard 100,000 female-led businesses in the UK by the end of 2023, almost a year early, is a great achievement and one we’re very proud of,” Tide SVP member engagement Heather Cobb said.

Cobb noted Tide’s commitment to supporting more women in entrepreneurship and its belief that gender should not be a barrier to starting a business.

“[A]s highlighted in our survey, there’s still a long way to go in making it easier for women to do this, including tackling hurdles on funding and mentorship,” she continued.

Though funding is by far and away the biggest barrier to women launching a business, not having a business mentor or role model is the second biggest (11 per cent), according to the report.

The women surveyed also cited a lack of self-confidence and limited knowledge both of how to set up a business and of business areas as barriers to entry.

Black female business owners were found to be 20 per cent more likely to find it challenging to launch a new venture than their white and Indian counterparts, and women in Northern Ireland (73 per cent), Scotland (62 per cent) and the North East (59 per cent) find it the most difficult to get started.

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