Leading voices in entrepreneurship have said it is time that businesswomen received the same opportunities as men after a report was published seeking to address the ‘gender scale-up gap’.

The Entrepreneurs Network launched Untapped Unicorns, a report outlining how Britain can scale up female entrepreneurship, in association with Barclays.

The report found that male entrepreneurs are 86 per cent more likely to be VC funded and 56 per cent more likely to secure angel investment.

It also found that women bring value to their organisations as female entrepreneurs bring in 20 per cent more revenue with 50 per cent less money invested.

And just eight per cent of fundraisers that raised capital through equity-based crowdfunding platforms in 2015 were women.

Annabel Denham, programmes director at The Entrepreneurs Network, said: “It is a frustrating reality that a significant proportion of funding goes towards male-founded or male-led businesses.

“This is not just an economic discussion, though we know scale-ups are vital to the UK economy: we want to see smart, savvy businesswomen getting the same opportunities as their male counterparts.”

OPINION: Tackling the problem of the accidental women in tech

The study, part of the Female Founders Forum project, shows that access to funding remains a persistent barrier to female entrepreneurs. It offers tangible, actionable recommendations, which are listed at the bottom of this article.

Debbie Wosskow OBE, Female Founders Forum member and co-founder of female-led funding model AllBright, said: "Female Founders are underfunded and yet deliver great returns for investors.

“I hope that, through the Female Founders Forum and my new investment platform AllBright, we can change the conversation for the future.”

AllBright has just appointed magneticNorth chief executive Lou Cordwell as the director of its Northern operation.

Emma Sinclair MBE, co-founder of EnterpriseJungle, will say at an evening launch on Tuesday evening: “Fundraising is always tough.

"Each time I raise money, it brings its own set of challenges dictated by the type of company, jurisdiction, offering and sector. Knowing all your options matters.”

Wosskow and Sinclair appeared on our inaugural '100 female tech role models' list in December.

Members of the Female Founders Forum include small business minister and former entrepreneur Margot James MP, Sara Murray OBE (Confused.com) and Tamara Lohan MBE (Mr & Mrs Smith).

The report recommendations are as follows:

  • Improving data collection and tracking women’s progress. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy should provide data on growth businesses. The government should also work with the UK Business Angels Association to provide statistics on returns offered by women-founded businesses at the angel level to encourage and increase in early-stage investing;
  • Paying it forward. We encourage all female founders to take matters into their own hands and invest in fellow female entrepreneurs. We would like to see mentoring initiatives launched across the UK to ensure female entrepreneurs get the coaching they need to scale;
  • Challenging stereotypes. The media should cover more women-led businesses – in particular those operating in male-dominated industries;
  • Promoting diversity. The VC industry should acknowledge biases within the sphere and consider adjusting the ratio of male:female employees.

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