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Supporting women in scaling their businesses globally

Leeann Nash November 8th 2023 - 3 minute read

Picture this scenario. You own a small but rapidly expanding business and have been searching for capital to help you grow to the next level. You’ve exhausted all the avenues you were aware of and no one will loan you the capital to reach the next level. As a female founder, you have faced prejudice from stakeholders and have a limited business support system around you. The challenge seems overwhelming and impossible. Many female entrepreneurs at this point may believe their business will not be able to expand any further. 

While the above scenario is hypothetical, this is a challenge many female business owners face daily. A study conducted as part of The Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship found that two-thirds of female business owners felt they were not taken seriously by banks and investors when seeking capital and 65% of those women felt they had been treated unfairly. The funding gap only grows when women explore ways to grow their business. Only 10% of female-owned companies succeed in scaling up to £1 million in turnover, compared to 21% that are male-owned.

A global network for female entrepreneurs

Female Founder Finance was born from a concept that had bothered Founder Roxanne Goodman for a while. There had been many forums and discussions around the lack of investment into female-led businesses but no natural avenues for female founders struggling to gain access to general commercial finance facilities, such as invoice finance or working capital.

In the UK, 34% of all SMEs are female-led and 63% of women find external funding to be a barrier to scaling their business. The aim of Female Founder Finance is to provide female entrepreneurs access to the first wholly female circle of commercial and investment financiers in the UK. Moving the dial from 34% to 50%, by providing a complete ecosystem of support tailored specifically to female business owners will allow for a more equitable and inclusive environment for female-led businesses to thrive.

“Leeann Nash was one of the original women in finance that I interviewed on International Women’s Day 2022, I wanted to put something together that discussed the issues women faced in our industry. Currency transfers are a vital part of the toolbox when businesses are trading overseas, and from our initial data review, we can see that just under a quarter (21%) of all female-founded businesses import and export stock and materials. The ability to provide women-led businesses with the option to reduce their costs on currency transfers allows them to increase their profitability and scale cost effectively.” – Roxanna Goodman, Founder of Female Founder Finance.

Global expansion opportunities for female-led businesses

In 1999, 53.8% of the UK’s exports went to EU member countries. Over the next 20 years, this figure decreased by 10% and in 2019, 57.4% of the UK’s exports went to non-EU countries. In other words, the UK expanded from regional to global trade in the first two decades of the 21st century, turning its trade deficit with countries outside the EU into a trade surplus. From a practical perspective, this creates an increased opportunity for UK firms — including female-owned businesses — to expand into foreign markets.

Limited investment and working capital can leave businesses susceptible to FX volatility. This is made worse when female business owners do not have support from business mentors and specialists. At Currencies Direct we aim to not only reduce FX cost and risk but also provide support to customers when navigating the complex world of FX. Up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men. Currencies Direct and Female Founder Finance are committed to giving female business owners the tools and knowledge to be able to achieve this.

“When Roxanne approached us with her idea for Female Founder Finance, we were delighted to play a part in this important initiative. Diversification of opportunity across the whole of the finance space is a journey we are all on and supporting funding gaps is key to the start of that journey. We have watched as the idea has gathered pace and courted interest across the finance community and if we can support those female founders in any small way through the mitigation of FX risk or the streamlining of payments, it will be an honour.” – Leeann Nash, Head of Corporate Sales at Currencies Direct.

The partnership between Currencies Direct and Female Founder Finance creates the ideal solution for female entrepreneurs looking for solutions when expanding into global markets.

Written by
Leeann Nash

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