RBS finds women-led firms less likely to ask for external funding

Susan Fouquier, managing director of business banking at RBS, wants 'anyone, regardless of gender, to feel that they can truly realise their potential'. Picture: Contributed
Susan Fouquier, managing director of business banking at RBS, wants 'anyone, regardless of gender, to feel that they can truly realise their potential'. Picture: Contributed
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More than half of female business owners are planning to expand their operations despite being less likely than men to ask for funding, a study from Royal Bank of Scotland has found.

Although 53 per cent of female entrepreneurs are looking to grow their businesses over the next three years, 78 per cent have never asked for external funding.

A quarter of male business owners said they were likely to seek finance from an external source, compared to 21 per cent of their female counterparts, according to the survey conducted by YouGov.

It also found that women launch their ventures with an average of 53 per cent less capital than men, while 52 per cent of the approximately 500 women surveyed had never asked for a pay rise.

The most common reasons for this were lacking the confidence to request a higher rate of pay, cited by 37 per cent of respondents, and feeling uncomfortable while talking about money, cited by 22 per cent.

Ask for More

This comes as RBS launches its Ask for More campaign, which aims to provide women with the support and tools they need to “better realise their potential”.

The drive will place a particular focus on supporting women running their own enterprises or taking the first steps to launch a business.

Its latest research builds on the findings of the Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship, which was led and released by Rose, now RBS chief executive, earlier this year.

READ MORE: KPMG to inspire black Scottish business leaders of the future with Make History campaign

The review stated that up to £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men.

Rose, who made history as the first woman to run one of Britain’s major high street lenders when she took over the Edinburgh-headquartered banking group at the start of this month, has pledged to build a bank that is “more open, more accessible and more inclusive”.

'Businesswomen face similar challenges'

Susan Fouquier, managing director of business banking at RBS, said: “We want anyone, regardless of gender, to feel that they can truly realise their potential – and not be afraid to ask for more support.

“Our research shows that there is an opportunity for RBS to help support female entrepreneurs better, whether that’s through providing training and advice, or funding and networking.

“Businesswomen across Scotland face similar challenges. By helping to bring together their businesses, we can share experience and give practical help to allow female entrepreneurs to achieve their full potential.”

Women-owned businesses in Scotland currently contribute £8.8bn to the Scottish economy each year and generate more than 230,000 jobs across Scotland.

The RBS Ask for More campaign is being launched in addition to the lender’s Back Her Business and Women in Business initiatives.