Just 10% of investments go to all-female startup teams even though there is no data to suggest that these teams underperform their male counterparts. MIGUEL RIOPA/AFP

A recent Female Founders Forum report, written by Margaret Mitchell, highlighted that women who have proven to be successful entrepreneurs are still treated as incapable businesswomen.

Introducing the investigation, the Female Founders Forum noted that there is a gender funding gap going unnoticed by mainstream media.

The report, which was also in collaboration with The Entrepreneurs Network and featured stories from a number of women in leading entrepreneurial roles, investigated "why too few women-led businesses reach the same economic scale as that achieved by male-led companies".

The Entrepreneurs Network boasts a team of researchers that support Britain's most aspirational entrepreneurs through campaigning methods and making a case in the media.

The network formed 'The Female Founders Forum' and sets out to "bridge the gap between entrepreneurs and policymakers". Both The Entrepreneurs Network and the Female Founders Forum, work with MPs to create a better industry for businesswomen.

Caroline Nokes, a member of Parliament and Chair of the Women and Equalities Committee, used the report to demonstrate the positive effect that women-led businesses have on Britain's economy.

"Without our entrepreneurs, Britain would be a poorer, less dynamic place," she wrote.

Nokes went on to acknowledge that while she has met "countless different individuals from all walks of life who have managed to start and grow a business of their own" the balance in entrepreneurship "remains an unequal undertaking for too many people".

Last year, 2022, marked a time when a record number of women became entrepreneurs. While there has been an influx of women in business, just one-fifth of all UK firms are represented by female-led businesses – says the report.

"Only 10% of investments go to all-female startup teams even though there is no data to suggest that these teams underperform their male counterparts," Nokes noted.

According to Nokes: "There is a persistent gender funding gap which we must address."

The Female Founders Forum report also recognised that there has been an increase in new businesses that have been founded by women. In the past five years, the number of female-led companies has grown by almost five per cent.

In 2018, women-led businesses represented 16.7 per cent, but in 2023, the number currently stands at more than 20 per cent.

The report went on to emphasise a need for a change in the entrepreneurial field, calling for more funding, network interventions and women-led business partnerships.

The Female Founders Forum also suggested that costs of childcare have proven to be a critical issue and should be brought down.

Many parents who use childcare services have been hit hard by the cost-of-living crisis. This year, it was revealed that childcare costs have been "soaring by £600-plus a month".

Women in business are also exposed to social biases in the industry, which impacts their future career trajectory and earning potential.

The investigation into gender inequalities also recognised how the biases affect the number of role models that aspiring female entrepreneurs are able to look to – particularly young girls and female students.

Although there has been significant progress, with regard to the 25 per cent of deals that go to female-led businesses, the offers that businesswomen are receiving "are often worth significantly less than those for male-founded companies" – according to the report.

Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, the founder and CEO of FLOWERBX, declared: "As a female founder that has raised quite a bit of money to fund growth, I can say that there is a serious lack of venture money available to female founders."

While referring to angel investors, an individual that provides initial funding to a business, Hawkings noted: "For those women without access to these affluent people, I cannot imagine how they would access funds for growth."