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More Women than Men Start New Businesses - But Access to Funding Remains a Challenge

8th March 2022
  • 20% of new business now led by women – a record high
  • Bristol name best city for women in business
  • Becky Rexworthy, local business manager at Bristol Metro Bank offers business and funding advice to new West Country businesses

Post pandemic, women in business are proving very resilient with higher numbers than ever starting new businesses - 145,200 all-female founded companies were created last year, and this figure is growing by over a third each year (37.3%). It means that in total over 20% of new firms are now led by women - a record high[1].

Bristol has been named best city for women in business, with almost 40% of women reporting growth of their enterprise in the past 12 months.

That said access to funding remains an issue at every stage of the business journey and female-led business are still underfunded. Women not only launch businesses with less capital than men but they are less willing to take on debt.

This is not news to Becky Rexworthy, the local business manager at Bristol’s Metro Bank.  “I spend more than half of my week meeting with new business owners.  Women in business often feel more cautious than their male counterparts to take on debt. I find that women look for more creative ways to raise capital required to start up or grow, rather than simply approach their bank. Part of my role is to challenge this approach and provide education, support and tools to female entrepreneurs to make access to finance both easier and cost efficient.”

More than two thirds (70%) of women entrepreneurs in Bristol would recommend Bristol to other business owners, based on factors including business community, availability of partners and suppliers and the talent pool.

Becky has helped hundreds of new West Country business women start up and grow their businesses. She has three key insights for women in business:

  1. Do not let imposter syndrome hold you back from starting your dream business
    It is not uncommon to feel like a fraud whether you are an entrepreneur or a senior executive. Don’t let this perfectly normal feeling stop you building your business and embracing success.
  2. Building your business is rarely a quick process
    Recognise that getting your product or service to market is a massive first hurdle. Creating a network of connections and trusted advisors won't happen overnight - don't berate yourself if it's taking longer than you anticipated.
  3. Create a strong and clear business plan
    This will give you direction - so get help, advice and try and find a mentor who can support you. It's not just about understanding finances and cash flow, it's about anticipating hurdles you need to overcome, setting objectives and some stretching goals to achieve.

Each Metro Bank store has a dedicated local business manager to support all local businesses and start-ups in its community.  The business managers give practical support to business customers – be that the complimentary use of an office in the store to conduct business meetings or advice on the business.

Useful Links

Invest in Women Hub – this free one stop shop helps women secure funding and offers guidance on how to start up and scale up a business.


The Women’s Organisation - the largest developer and deliverer of training and support for women in the UK.


Women’s Network of Entrepreneurs – over 22,000 dedicated entrepreneurs and women in business who are serious about supporting, sharing, and promoting their business with like-minded individuals with the intention of building their network and sharing resources.


British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE) - the only entrepreneurial network specifically for women with capital at risk.

Prowess – Women in Business - online hub for women-friendly business support, inspiration and information.

Women Mean Biz (Networking) - a serious and empowered women's business network, that delivers business results.



[1] Source Rose Review 2022 Progress Report