A recent study conducted by UK Virtual Business Assistant firm SpareMyTime has unveiled a significant 83 percent increase in the number of female CEOs and women on boards within UK-based FTSE companies since 2018.
SpareMyTime’s comprehensive analysis, utilising both current data and a five-year retrospective of government data, indicates substantial growth in gender diversity within corporate leadership roles.
The study reveals the most substantial upticks occurred in 2021 and 2022, reflecting a positive trend towards greater gender inclusivity at the upper echelons of corporate management.
The release of this report aligns with a surge in public interest, as evidenced by a 1,850 percent increase in searches for ‘female founders’ in the last 12 months alone.
Additionally, searches for ‘female founders initiative’ saw a 320 percent rise, while those exploring ‘female founders program’ increased by 300 percent.
Femtech’s Striking Growth and Impact
The study also sheds light on the remarkable growth of femtech, with a staggering 1300 percent increase in femtech companies over the past decade. According to Beauhurst data, there was only one active femtech company in 2014, a number that has now grown to 14 in 2023.
SpareMyTime has further identified and ranked the top five fastest-growing female-founded companies in the UK, based on their total funding amounts. Notably, four out of the top five spots are occupied by femtech and sustainability startups.
Top 5 Fastest-Growing Female-Founded Companies in the UK
- Founder: Tania Boler
- Industry: Femtech
- Location: London
- Total Funding: £124M
- Founder: Samantha Reece
- Industry: Robotics
- Location: Dorset
- Total Funding: £12.7M
- Founder: Deborah O’Neil
- Industry: Biotech
- Location: Aberdeen
- Total Funding: £10.9M
- Founder: Su Hardy
- Industry: Sustainable Menstrual Products
- Location: Wirral
- Total Funding: £10
- Founder: Shilpika Gautam
- Industry: Climate Fintech
- Location: London
- Total Funding: £5.2M
Elvie, leading the pack with £124M in total funding, stands out as the UK’s fastest-growing tech company, underscoring the prominence of femtech in the country’s entrepreneurial landscape.
Melissa Gauge, Founder of SpareMyTime, expressed enthusiasm, stating, “The success of these female-founded companies is a testament to the growing strength of the UK tech scene and the increasing importance of diversity and inclusion in the industry.”
Regional Insights into Female Founders
Examining female-founded businesses on a regional scale, the study identified London as the leader with 174 female-founded businesses. However, regions outside the capital are also making substantial contributions. Yorkshire and the Humber, for instance, has contributed to a £3.5 billion turnover and employs 28,525 individuals. The East of England stands out for receiving the highest investment at £213.6 million.
The findings reinforce the notion that female-founded start-ups are increasingly focused on addressing real-world problems, utilising technology to make a positive impact on society. As the UK tech industry continues to evolve, these trends signify a promising future for diversity and innovation within corporate leadership and entrepreneurship.
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.