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The Investing in Women Code

The Investing in Women Code is a commitment to support the advancement of women business leaders in the United Kingdom by improving female entrepreneurs’ access to tools, resources and finance from the financial services sector. Code signatories include banks, non-bank lenders, Angel investors, venture and growth capital funds.

Investing in Women Code logo

What is it?

The Investing in Women Code is a commitment that is open to all organisations that finance businesses in the UK. When you apply for finance to a Code signatory, you will be working with an organisation that has made a commitment to promoting female entrepreneurship by:

  • having a nominated member of the senior leadership team who will be responsible for supporting equality in access to finance
  • increasing the transparency of their data on support for female entrepreneurs
  • adopting internal practices to improve the outlook for female entrepreneurs

What this should mean in practice is that when you approach an organisation that is a Code signatory, you will go through a fair, transparent, and supportive process in applying for finance. Many signatories offer pre-application discussions and ‘meet the funder’ events where you can get advice or simply run through your pitch informally with an investment manager.

Who are the signatories?

Code signatories are shown in the finance providers’ directory of the Invest in Women Hub. You can view a copy of the Code itself and a full list of signatories via the links below. Some signatories chose not to be listed on the Hub, for example if they are venture capital funds that are not making new investments at this time.

Text of the Investing in Women Code

Full list of Code signatories

How did the Code come about?

In 2018 the government asked Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group, to report on the barriers faced by women-led businesses and how to overcome them.  The Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship was published on 8 March 2019. The report highlighted the difficulties that female entrepreneurs face when accessing finance and exposed the gender gap in investment. On average, female-led businesses receive less funding than those headed by men at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey. The finding that only 1% of venture capital funding goes to businesses founded by all-female teams was a stark illustration of the disparity.

Since publication, there has been a strong commitment from across the industry to implement the recommendations, reinforced by the scale of the opportunity. The report found that £250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as UK men.

The Alison Rose Review made eight recommendations, of which the Investing in Women Code was one and this website another. The Code is the only one of these initiatives that is led by government, working with four partners:

  • The British Business Bank
  • UK Business Angels Association
  • British Private Equity and Venture Capital Association
  • UK Finance, the trade body for UK financial services

The Investing in Women Code partners collect data from the different categories of signatory and complete this for an annual report. They also work with their members to produce guidance and share good practice.