Virgin StartUp announces 50/50 pledge on start-up funding

Virgin StartUp is making a public pledge to equalise funding support for female and male entrepreneurs.

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Virgin StartUp is today announcing a public pledge to commit to a 50/50 funding target for women and men entrepreneurs by the end of 2020.

It is believed to be the first business funder in the UK to make this promise. The 50/50 pledge is also expected to address nationwide barriers faced by many women in business, such as childcare and gender-based discrimination, including unconscious bias. It says twice as many female founders listed ‘managing time and work-life / home-life balance’, as male founders.

On childcare, Virgin StartUp is, for instance, announcing new online workshops and digital masterclasses to upskill entrepreneurs so they can study when and where they can and is open to partnerships with organisations in the start-up ecosystem who can further support women founders.

Earlier this year the Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship found that only one in five businesses in the UK is founded by women and recent reports show that £250bn could be added to the value of the economy if women started and scaled their businesses at the same rate as men.

Virgin StartUp says it is keen to equalise the playing field. The Rose Review also found that women face more problems than men securing funding for their businesses. It cited British Business Bank figures showing women-only funding teams were given £32 million in investment in 2017, while male-only teams received more than £5 billion. And it said that women spent on average 60% more time on family care than men.

Among other recommendations the Review called for new investment vehicles to increase funding going to female entrepreneurs and greater encouragement for UK-based institutional and private investors to further support and invest in female entrepreneurs.

*Read about how Selma Nicholls used Virgin StartUp funding to build her children’s talent agency. 



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