Female founders built over 150,000 new businesses in 2022

Trinny Woodall - Founder and CEO of Tinny London

Despite inflation reaching record levels coupled with great economic uncertainty, women in the UK built more businesses last year than ever before, a figure that we at SME XPO stand proudly behind, especially with International Women’s Day just around the corner.

A total of over 150,000 new companies were established by women in 2022, according to the Alison Rose Review of Entrepreneurship, more than twice as many in 2018. Furthermore, a fifth of all new incorporations were all-female led, up from 16% five years ago. Interestingly the biggest leap was among female founders aged 16-25, which increased by almost a quarter.

Julia Onslow-Cole, Chair of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and Partner at Fragomen, said: “It is fantastic that more companies than ever were created by women in 2022, despite all of the economic headwinds and uncertainty facing entrepreneurs. It is abundantly clear that our business community performs better when inclusivity is at put at the forefront and codified from the start. LCCI is proud to support female entrepreneurs and business owners and we will continue to work to enable better opportunity for all.”

The findings are also great news for the SME community, especially with around 50 days to go until the Evening Standard’s SME XPO, which takes place from 25-26 April and is the UK’s leading event dedicated entirely to ambitious SME founders and decision-makers who are looking to scale.

Among the 4000+ owners and 60+ speakers present at the event, women are extremely well-represented. Among the keynote speakers are Deborah Meaden – entrepreneur and Dragons’ Den star and investor and Louise Hill, founder of GoHenry, with the event endorsed by Trinny Woodall the British beauty entrepreneur, businesswoman, fashion and makeover expert, television presenter and author. Other female speakers during the two-day event include Sahar Hashemi OBE, co-founder of Buy Women Built, Dr Anino Emuwa, managing director, Avandis Consulting and Steph Douglas, founder at Don’t Buy Her Flowers.

Responding to the 2023 International Women’s Day theme of Embrace Equity, Laura Dove, Chief Operatig Officer of Allbright, a global collective connecting ambitious women in digital and physical spaces says: “At AllBright, our purpose is to support women during any stage of their career progression. 45% of women are not expecting to stay at their current company for more than five years. The main reason cited is the lack of opportunity for growth within organizations. We work with companies to build training and development programs to retain top talent. We also have a mentor matching program to assist. There needs to be more dialogue in government and organizations about the astonishing rate in which women are leaving the workforce.”

Meanwhile, Anna Brailsford, CEO Code First Girls, which provides training in developing and data, adds: “It’s a fact that female founders face more barriers than their male counterparts, and there are far fewer of us. While we all stand to benefit from diverse leaders and workplaces, it isn’t as simple as just hiring in female leaders and employees – we need to support female talent and entrepreneurship at all stages of the pipeline.”

The good news is that this is happening, Anna continues: “There are also growing communities out there through which women can seek out peers and mentors for advice, collaboration and kinship. At Code First Girls, female angel investors provided a huge share of our Series A fundraise – a vote of confidence from other female leaders in our offering.”

Building on the success of its launch event, the Evening Standard’s SME XPO 25-26 April at ExCeL London, once again invites founders, entrepreneurs and business leaders to attend an action-filled two-day programme and exhibition connecting the scaleup community, a vital part of the UK economy.

Register for your free ticket: https://www.smexpo.co.uk

Female speakers include:

  • Deborah Meaden, Investor and Business Leader
  • Irene Graham OBE – CEO at ScaleUp Institute
  • Louise Hill – Co-founder and COO of Go Henry
  • Umerah Akram, Head of Private Markets, at London Stock Exchange
  • Trinny Woodall – Founder and CEO of Tinny London
  • Perrine Farque – Author
  • Victoria Prew, Co-Founder and CEO, at Hurr,
  • Sahar Hashemi OBE, Co-Founder of Buy Women Built
  • Sophie Baron, Founder of Mamamade
  • Katie Lopes, Founder of Stripe and Stare
  • Harriet Hastings, Founder of Mamamade
  • Sarah Ashcroft, Influencer and Founder of SLA the Label
  • Dr Anino Emuwa, Managing Director, Avandis Consulting, Founder 100 women @ Davos
  • Cécile Reinaud, Founder at Seraphine
  • Alexandra Depledge MBE, CEO and Founder at Resi
  • Smruti Sriram CEO at Bag of Ethics
  • Sedge Beswick, Founder of Connec+s
  • Tanya de Grunwald, Good+Fair Employers Club
  • Anna Brailsford, CEO, Code First Girls,
  • Julia Elliott Brown, Fundraising and grown advisor, Female Founder Ambassador serial Entrepreneur at enter the arena
  • Krisi Smith, Founder of Bird&Blend Tea Co
  • Steph Douglas, Founder at don’t buy her flowers
  • Margaret Rice-Jones, Senior Independent Director at De La Rue plc
  • Andrea Reynolds, Founder and CEO at Swoop Funding
  • Lara Morgan, Founder investor & Entrepreneur
  • Angelica Malin, Editor-in-chief, Entrepreneur, Author at About Time Magazine