The First UK Guide to Finance for Women in Business


Women’s businesses in the UK are being held back by gaps in knowledge about business funding. A new free guide launched this week by women in business organisation, Prowess 2.0, as part of Finance 4 Start Up Britain Week, aims to help women and their advisers to make the most of the funding options available.

There has been a massive hike in the number of women starting businesses since 2008; up 16 percent compared to 2 percent for men. But a body of research shows that this burst of female entrepreneurship is likely to be stifled by lack of financial savvy.

Women use a much narrower range of finance options and start businesses with much lower levels of funding, across every size and sector of business. “When it comes to succeeding in business, whether you’re a man or a woman doesn’t matter a bit.

With similar levels of start-up finance, women’s businesses perform just as well as those
led by men,” says report author, Erika Watson.

“While there is still some discrimination, that’s less of an issue than the gaps in knowledge about what’s available. Prowess 2.0 wants to support more women to succeed by providing the best information available.”

The practical 21 page e-book includes:

• A plain-English overview of all the main types of UK business finance, including loans, grants, equity, bootstrapping, crowdfunding and more.
• The pros and cons of the main types of funding and whether there’s a women’s angle or route. For example, women are much less likely to seek Business Angel funding, but just as likely to succeed when they do.
• Exercises to help women understand and deal with their own financial psychology. Money is a topic which academics agree is more emotionally loaded for women than it is for men.

Erika Watson has an MBE for services to women’s enterprise and was a member of the Government appointed Women’s Enterprise Task Force. She says: “the Task Force report brought together a substantial body of research on how access to finance was a barrier for women in business, but we couldn’t find any practical information resources like this for women.” Prowess 2.0’s Women’s Business Finance Guide fills the gap and will enable more women to make the most of all the financial opportunities open to their business.

The report is free to download from