We are so lucky that we have some amazing men who are championing our business and supporting what we are trying to achieve; making a positive difference to female business owners and their access to finance.
We invited them to share with us why they are supporting Female Founder Finance below.
The work Roxanne and Female Founder Finance are doing is trailblazing and incredibly necessary.
There is a clear disparity between what female and male founders experience when looking for finance for their business, which needs to be urgently addressed.
For me, a vital part of this is about taking proactive steps to boost female representation in finance.
At Allica Bank, we have set clear, public targets for increasing diversity, which we have linked to remuneration. Simply waiting for the issue to 'sort itself out' is never going to be enough. It's about the proactive steps businesses need to adopt if we're ever going to see any real change.
Organisations such as Female Founder are critical in supporting female entrepreneurs on their journey to accessing finance for their ventures. In any business there are numerous barriers to overcome and adding any gender bias into this, even if unconscious, is unhelpful and can drain both confidence and ambition.
At Together we share the belief with Female Founder, that women are a powerful force with strong commercial ideas that should be listened to. By taking the time to treat all of our customers as individuals and fully understand business plans we can provide easy access to finance allowing equal and fair participation.
We know that there is no gap in talent, capability or ambition between men and women yet the gender split of SME leadership clearly suggests that women face more disadvantages in opportunity and accessing finance to scale their business.
By recognising and addressing these challenges and working together with organisations like Female Founders, female entrepreneurs will find a powerful base of allies for networking, support and financial advice.
At Reward we are honoured to support such a transformative initiative as ‘Female Founder Finance’, which champions diversity and opens doors for female entrepreneurs.
We firmly believe in the enriching and powerful impact of female thought and leadership within our industry, with women represented on our Board and Senior Management Team.
We also welcome working with women in the industry and see the positives in supporting female entrepreneurs, ensuring all voices are valued and heard.
Initiatives like this are crucial to promoting equality, fostering collaboration, and we are committed to contributing to and learning from this collective effort.
Conversations surrounding the championing of women in business are also vital for fostering change and ensuring industry wide success and wellbeing.
In an ideal world, Female Founder Finance shouldn’t need to exist.
It should not be necessary to have an all-female circle of commercial and investment financiers to give female entrepreneurs better access to funding.
However, the sad fact is that we don’t live in an ideal world.
You only need to look at the attendees of industry black tie events (the name in itself an absolute giveaway), for example, to see how the specialist and SME lending sector has been dominated by men. Twenty years ago, it was rare to see many women at such events because few women held senior roles in the lenders or brokers.
Even today, it’s still unusual to find a woman leading a lending business or a brokerage. There are more now than 20 years ago, but still not many and while the situation has improved, we still have a long way to go.
When I began my career 35 years ago, most boards of lending businesses were made up of men and most underwriters were men. While this is changing, progress has been slow and is confined mainly to the higher profile challengers.
This makes securing finance for female business founders even more challenging than it is for their male counterparts, overcoming what is often unconscious bias to obtain the backing they need to make their ideas a reality.
This is just one of the reasons why we at GB Bank are so pleased to have the opportunity to support Female Founder Finance and back the brilliant businesses which use its services.
I’m also very proud to say it’s also very much aligned with GB Bank’s thinking on diversity, equity and inclusion – and we like to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.
We’re by no means perfect ourselves but we are proud that:
• 25% of our board are female
• 46% of the entire GB Bank team are female
• 50% of our relationship managers are female
• 70% of our lending and completions team are female
Supporting the superb work which Female Founder Finance carries out is another way for us to show we are serious about addressing the gender funding gap. Because while an ideal world may never be possible, a fairer world is.
The work you are doing is long over-due and for that, the wider FS industry should take responsibility for.
It is vitally important that female business owners are supported in their whole journey from start up to exit, and in so doing, specific challenges which females encounter, are understood.
It is impossible for me and my fellow senior FS sector males to properly understand, as to put it simply, we are not females! I am a firm believer in trying to understand what it is like to "walk in someone else's shoes" and in so doing, can then have a better appreciation as to how I can help and support.
Raising awareness and promoting access to finance for female entrepreneurs, will start to "change the narrative" and promote "open and honest" conversations about how we can collectively address the clear gaps that exist.
I have always prided myself on building inclusive and diverse teams, and by doing this, am better able to understand and help various groups from a wide variety of backgrounds.
However, if you look around the FS industry, at all levels, it is still largely characterised by a bias towards males, so it is with this group that ongoing education is required to truly move the dial.
Whether we want to accept it or not, we all have both conscious and unconscious bias, and true change comes when we acknowledge this, have the difficult conversations, and challenge our own thinking.
I look forward to working with and supporting FFF on the journey and indeed to confirm my own learning"
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Female Founder Finance is a trading style of Vernon Projects Limited which is an independent commercial finance broker not a lender, as such can introduce you to a wide range of finance providers depending on your requirements and individual circumstances. We are not independent financial advisors and so are unable to provide you with independent financial advice. Female Founder Finance may receive a payment (s) or other benefits from the finance provider if you decide to enter into an agreement with them. Vernon Projects Limited trading as Female Founder Finance is an Appointed Representative of Goodman Corporate Consultancy Ltd which is Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority No. 733340
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