Rise in UK female entrepreneur exits bucks downturn drop

female exits Image credit: GoHenry

The number of company exits by UK female-run or owned businesses has risen from five in 2013 to 171 last year, new data has shown.

The figures, compiled by J.P. Morgan Private Bank, show that the 16.3% year-on-year rise in female exits bucked a decline in the number of overall “high-growth” company exits, which fell by 15.2% over the same period.

However, the total value of exits for female-led firms declined from £2.96bn in 2021 to £1.58bn in 2022.

“Women-powered companies are still underrepresented in the cohort of exited businesses and not achieving the same growth in exit values,” said Charlotte Bobroff, co-head of UK Women & Wealth J.P. Morgan Private Bank.

The UK as of last year was home to 7,225 female founders and 6,443 female leaders, the report found.

Women-led companies secured a total of £29.3bn in equity investment and £1.11bn in grant funding last year.

“We found similar trends in emerging sectors, with women-powered artificial intelligence companies representing a quarter of the sector despite it being the largest sector for emerging growth,” added Bobroff.

London attracted £2.2bn across 997 female firm private investment deals and was followed by the South East of England with £511m over 214 deals.

Northern Ireland received the least amount of private investment for female-run or owned businesses, (21) but still raised £49.2m, which was more than Wales, East Midlands and Yorkshire and The Humber.

Starling Bank, followed by fintech GoHenry, were the women-led businesses that secured the most investment in 2022.

Acorns acquired the children’s fintech GoHenry for an undisclosed amount earlier this year after it raised nearly £50m in October.

Starling Bank founder Anne Boden recently announced she is stepping down as CEO. Boden said it was the right time to step aside off the back of a record pre-tax profit of £195m.


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