As a bank focused on helping the UK’s entrepreneurs achieve their growth ambitions, one of the key issues in the industry that concerns us is the disproportionate number of loan applications received from male-founded/led businesses, compared with female-founded/led ones.
Research globally shows that male entrepreneurs are 86% more likely to be VC-funded than women and 59% more likely to secure angel investment.
Ensuring that female founders and leaders are just as likely to apply for debt and equity finance as male ones, isn’t just the right thing to do, it also makes business sense.
In the UK alone, women-owned SMEs contribute approximately £85bn to overall economic output – increasing the number of women engaged in early-stage entrepreneurial activity by just 10% could add more than £180bn of GDP to the UK economy by 2025.
Meanwhile, studies show that companies that have women in top management don’t only experience higher levels of profit, but also higher levels of innovation.
We have been fortunate enough to work with some of the UK’s most ambitious and successful entrepreneurs – here are a few of them:
- In May 2017, we provided a loan of £14.4m to Frogmore – the UK real estate fund manager which was established in 1961 and has invested and sold over £6bn of real estate since 1995. The debt finance was used to acquire a site in Southwark and submit planning permission to develop it into a hotel. Jo Allen has been the chief executive at Frogmore since 1994 and is responsible for the day-to-day running of the business, as well as overseeing its asset management activities. She has played a key role in the business’s fundraising drive, securing close to £1bn of committed equity to date.
- In December 2017, we completed a £3.4m loan to Daisy Green Collection, the Australian all-day dining chain with nine sites across London. Prior to co-founding the business, its CEO, Prue Freeman, was an investment banker at UBS for eight years. In 2015, the group successfully raised £775,000 of debt finance on Crowdcube after being oversubscribed by 117%. In July this year, the business embarked on a second crowdfunding campaign, this time for equity, which is currently oversubscribed by almost 400%.
- In January 2018, we provided £1m of working capital to NetPay, the payment services provider founded in 2012 by Carl and Nicole Churchill. Prior to co-founding NetPay, Nicole founded MurphX – an aggregator of telecommunications which was then sold to Daisy Wholesale – the largest communications aggregator in the UK – where Nicole was a director.
- In April 2018, we lent £10m to Nicole Bremner and Avi Dodi – well-known and experienced property developers – for new developments in Silicon Roundabout and Hackney. Nicole is one of the most recognisable faces in UK property development being renowned for a career that’s seen her go from a stay-at-home mum to a £120m property mogul in just five years. She is the founder of two property businesses – East Eight and London Central Developments – an author (last year, she published her biography ‘Bricking It’) and a podcast host (The Nicole Bremner podcast).
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