Pillar Three - Access to Finance and Technology
If the UK wants to grow more women-owned businesses (especially to aid economic recovery), the right support needs to be available for women to access finance and technology. The Women's Enterprise Task Force has published a report on the Myths and Realities of Women's Access to Finance, which dispels the myth that women are charged more than men for bank finance. However, women are still less likely than men to access the kinds of equity and venture capital investments which can help their businesses grow.
For information on accessing finance in the recession, please see Government's Real Help With Finance Now, delivered by Business Link.
To help businesswomen access finance, the Women's Enterprise Task Force has successfully lobbied Government for a women's investment fund, which was announced in the Enterprise Strategy and launched in November 2008. It is being run by Capital for Enterprise Ltd (CfEL).
The Aspire Fund, as it is called, is a co-investment fund that is not designed to be accessed directly by businesses. CfEL are only looking for approaches from either lead investors or investment readiness providers. All direct enquiries from businesswomen should therefore be directed to Business Link (phone 0845 600 9006) in the first instance.
Aspire Fund applicants will either need to be directed to the fund through an investment readiness programme (which can be accessed via Business Link), or first secure private funding which the Aspire Fund could potentially match. To enquire further into the fund itself, please contact Melanie Perkins at CfEL on 0114 206 2145, or click here.