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The Alison Rose Review

New guidance offers insights to investors and venture capitalists as they embark on or continue their diversity and inclusion journey.

Last updated: 21 Jan 2021 4 min read

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Alison Rose, the bankʼs CEO, and author of the report.

NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose’s Review of Female Entrepreneurship found that only 13% of senior people on UK investment teams are women, and almost half (48%) of investment teams have no women at all.

To help address this, the Rose Review Council has published Guidance And Best Practice: Examples For VCs And Institutional Investors, a document created by leading investors within the venture community as a resource for institutional and other investors who wish to maximise access to diverse deal flow, and manage their companies and portfolios to optimise return. You can download the guidance below.

The Rose Review: the story so far

The UK is the start-up capital of Europe, attracting more venture capital than any other European country, yet only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female. In comparison with 15% of women in Canada, almost 11% of women in the US, and over 9% of women in Australia and the Netherlands, only 5.6% of UK women run their own companies.

The Rose Review into female entrepreneurship, released in March 2019, revealed that female entrepreneurs were underrepresented in high-value sectors such as manufacturing, IT and communications, and financial services. Access to funding, risk awareness, primary care responsibilities and perception of skills were among the barriers to female entrepreneurs identified in the report. Yet the prize for overcoming this is high: according to the review, boosting female entrepreneurship could add £250bn to the economy.

In order to achieve this, Rose suggested eight initiatives the private sector (and parts of the public sector) could take forward, including: increased funding; support from private investors; the expansion of mentoring and networking opportunities; and accelerating the rollout of entrepreneurial courses to schools and colleges.

One year on, Rose published an update assessing the progress that has been made in support of these initiatives since the release of the Rose Review. Significant progress has been made in a number of key areas, including:

  • the Investing in Women Code now has 22 signatories from the finance and investor community
  • £1bn of ring-fenced debt funding has been made available for female-led businesses – the largest intervention yet by a UK lender
  • access to a banking ‘expert in residence’ is ensured for all 38 UK Local Enterprise Partnerships

Rose says: “The Rose Review into female entrepreneurship was born out of a sense of frustration at the unacceptable disparity which exists between female and male entrepreneurs and the slow progress in closing this gap.

“Our hope was always that the Review would galvanise real action – we did not want it to sit on a shelf – so we committed to give a progress update. We have been heartened by the commitment to implementing the recommendations of the report since its publication in March 2019, reinforced by this government’s ambition to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by half by 2030.” You can download the latest progress report, and the original report, below.

Overcoming barriers

The Rose Review identified that for female entrepreneurs with children, family care responsibilities are the number one barrier to further business success, with 46% of female parent entrepreneurs identifying it as a “very important” or “important” barrier.

In October 2019 the bank published its research, Supporting Business Through Family Care Responsibilities, on what financial products entrepreneurs with family care responsibilities (irrespective of gender) would find most useful. We hope this will encourage financial institutions to offer greater flexibility around lending for entrepreneurs. You can download this research at the bottom of the page.

Guidance And Best Practice: Examples For VCs And Institutional InvestorsThe Alison Rose Review: Progress Report March 2020The Alison Rose Review 2019The Alison Rose Review: infographicSupporting business through family care responsibilities
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