Record number of female-founded businesses in Scotland

The number of women starting businesses in Scotland rose by 37% last year, according to new figures.

Young female entrepreneur thinking and browsing laptop in office


A record number number of female-founded start-ups were set up last year, according to a government-commissioned review, which said that the amount of women entrepreneurs in the country is outstripping male ones for the first time.

The Rose Review’s 2022 Progress Report shows there were 5,951 companies established by women in Scotland, twice the number reported in 2018 and 37% up on last year.

The review, set up in 2019, originally stated that £250bn could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men.

On the back of a Rose Review recommendation, the Treasury also launched its Investing in Women Code initiative in 2019 – a commitment by financial services firms to improve women founders’ access to finance and support and to best practice. Signatories also commit to having a senior leader responsible for supporting equality in all interactions with entrepreneurs. So far 134 institutions have signed up to the initiative.

The Rose Review also commissioned a survey in 2021 which found that female entrepreneurs spend twice as long on caregiving than male entrepreneurs and were 62% less likely to have their business recover from Covid-19.

The Review is launching campaign from the Women Angel Investment Taskforce to support women to become business angels to increase access to early-stage investment. It also wants to see greater access to networking and mentoring opportunities and other support and is promoting a campaign to get more firms to sign up to the Investing In Women Code.

Rose said that, although there has been “real progress” in the last three years, women still don’t receive all the support they need and called for “fresh, imaginative solutions to the challenges posed by women’s caring responsibilities.”

UK Small Business Minister Paul Scully said: “This report shows women are shattering the entrepreneurial glass ceiling, which is a huge step forward in ensuring our economy and society is making best use of all our talents.”

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