Businesses led by females on average received a staggering 96 per cent less funding than their male counterparts this year despite growing pressure for gender parity, according to new data.
The study of the highest funded female and male businesses in the UK in 2021 revealed a vast gap in funding between companies led by men versus those run by women.
While fintech startup Starling Bank received £686m, the highest amount of funding for a female-led UK business in 2021, the company with the highest funding, and led by a man, took five times as much. .
Starling, led by Anne Boden, secured £50m investment from Goldman Sachs earlier this year but e-commerce firm The Hut Group (THG), headed by Matthew Moulding, attracted £3.7bn in total during the year.
The study, by The UK Domain, also found that just under a third of UK businesses are owned by women, and of those only 17 per cent are also founded by women.
Although the widely reported gender pay gap has been made much of over recent years, a separate study published this week revealed that gender equality is lacking at Europe’s top 50 banks too, with women paid less than male colleagues in 80 per cent of companies.
Only five of Europe’s 50 largest banks have female chief executives while women take up just 19 per cent of executive board positions according to data from Boston Consulting Group.
Three quarters of the largest banks have a wide pay gap with women in executive positions earning less than male colleagues.
The findings of a split across gender when it comes to businesses getting off the ground, and pay in large companies, spells a sober mood for the end of 2021.
Although disparities in funding can be partly attributed to different industries, comparing female-led and male-led businesses within the medical sector – which have seen a boom during the pandemic – revealed that biotech firm Oxford Nanopore Technologies, owned by Gordon Sanghera, enjoyed £993m worth of investment during the year compared with £40m received by the highest funded female-led biotech company, Phico Therapeutic.
Although pharmaceutical companies made up three of the top five female-led businesses, by funding, Oxford Nanopore Technologies received more in funding than Mereo Biopharma, Summit Therapeutics and Phico Therapeutics combined.
Luxury cosmetics company Beauty Pie, owned and founded by Marcia Kilgore, ranked fourth among the female-led businesses with the greatest level of funding received over the course of 2021, taking £74m.