Scotland leads way for female entrepreneurs under 30

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

Innovation is alive and well among the country’s young business minds, and in some of the UK’s largest cities, women-led businesses launched by those under 30 have surged in 2022. According to the latest Companies House data analysed by Easy Offices, women between 18 and 30 have launched over 13,000 new businesses this year.

Looking at 20 of the largest cities in the UK, data shows entrepreneurial growth among this younger demographic is much stronger in Scotland, Wales and the North of England than in the south. Traditionally one of the strongest entrepreneurial cities is London, but this year the capital has seen a double-digit decline in the number of young female entrepreneurs launching businesses.

Edinburgh leads the way with a 1,313% increase in businesses launched by women under 30 in 2022. Last year, both the capital and South-east Scotland were revealed to have the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the UK collectively, making it one of the most prominent hotspots for self-employed women in the country. Glasgow, Leeds, Cardiff and Bradford follow closely behind, which all have double-digit growth in the number of women launching businesses this year.

While it’s positive that more women than ever are starting new businesses, businesses started by men are still significantly higher. Women under 30 launched over 13,000 new companies across the country in 2022, while men in the same age bracket launched more than 30,000.

Which cities have seen the biggest increase in female enterprise in 2022? 

Some of the most common barriers to women of all ages are similar:

  • 35% say they don’t have enough savings or finances
  • 24% say the risk is too high
  • 15% say they don’t have the confidence

Studies also show that women-led companies struggle to attract equal investment.

Why we need more young women-owned businesses

Entrepreneurs between 18 and 30 account for 23% of all new business owners in the UK. Although small compared to the 31 to 40-year-old age group, which accounts for 32%, this younger crowd can positively impact the economy. In fact, one study in Canada suggested that instead of waiting, becoming an entrepreneur just one year sooner can increase GDP by £980,058. One UK study revealed that the UK economy could benefit from an additional £250 billion if more women of all ages were empowered to start their own businesses.

Supporting growth for women

A few ways to encourage women’s entrepreneurship.

  • Identify the gaps within entrepreneurial education for women: This requires an inclusive approach to help women navigate the unique challenges they face at all stages and should start in schools.
  • Improve access to funding: Gender inclusivity within the entrepreneurial ecosystem depends heavily on women having access to equal funding opportunities.
  • Increase flexibility: As predominant primary caregivers, women need more flexibility and freedom to set their own schedules around priorities.
SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024