A Guide to Funding Options for Women-Owned Businesses in the UK

A Guide to Funding Options for Women-Owned Businesses in the UK

More women in the UK start companies every year. Women-owned firms now total 1.5 million. However, women still face tough hurdles in getting loans and investments. Banks reject women owners more than men. Other lenders shy away, too. This is unfair and hurts the economy.

Access to startup and growth money remains hard for many women entrepreneurs. Thankfully, new options now help women borrow, crowdfund and seek investors. Banks offer better terms for women-led small biz. Special networks connect women owners to backers. The web allows peer-to-peer lending, too.

This guide shares the best funding choices in the UK for women company builders. Money should not block good business ideas. Read on to boost funding potential.

Funding Ideas for Women preneurs in the UK

1.  Government Grants and Schemes

The government in the UK gives out special money called grants to help women start companies. Women entrepreneurs can use these grants to get their ideas off the ground without having to pay back the money.

Some key grants from the government aimed at women business owners are:

  • The Women in Innovation Award. This gives up to £50,000 to women-led companies working on new products or technology. The money can be used to build prototypes.
  • Innovate UK’s grants for women in innovation. These smaller grants provide up to £5,000. They are for women developing new products in the early stages.
  • The UK Female Founder initiative. This is open to women entrepreneurs starting sole trader or partnership companies.

To get these government grants, your company typically needs to be led by a woman or have an all-female founding team. You need to show your business has growth potential and plans to develop a viable product or service.

To apply, you submit an overview of your company and plans for the grant money.

2.  Crowdfunding Platforms

Crowdfunding sites let women entrepreneurs raise money for their business ideas from regular people online. These sites work well because women often have smaller personal networks. Big crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo host many campaigns started by women.

Some key benefits of crowdfunding for women business owners:

  • You can access startup funds without large fees or collateral that banks require. This helps get early ideas going.
  • Successful campaigns can test products and grow customer interest before launch. And they build communities of loyal supporters.
  • Many platforms spotlight women-led projects to improve visibility.

UK examples:

  • Fitness coach Alice Liveing raised over £250,000 on Kickstarter for her new workout app, beating her £50,000 target very quickly.
  • Fashion designer Estelle Lee used Indiegogo to bring in £22,000 to start her ASTRO BODY line of colourful athletic clothing.

With smart planning and promotion, crowdfunding gives women entrepreneurs alternate startup funding and brand exposure.

3.  Loans and Traditional Banking

Banks give money called loans to help start or grow a business. Some loans work well for women business owners.

  • Ask your bank about microloans. These are small loans up to $50,000 that help new small businesses.
  • See if you fit loan programs for minorities or women. These can have better rates and terms.

Before you apply for a loan:

  • Have a business plan. This shows the bank your goals and money needs.
  • Show banks your past tax returns. This helps show you can repay a loan.

Tips to get a loan:

  • Ask for loan terms you can meet. This includes size, rate, and years to repay.
  • Use collateral like equipment or property. This gives the bank security you will repay.
  • Start small. Getting a first loan can lead to bigger loans later.

For those with less-than-perfect credit, traditional banking routes might be challenging. This is where a bad credit loan with no guarantor in the UK can be a game-changer. Tailored for individuals with bad credit, these loans do not require a guarantor, making them more accessible for women entrepreneurs who may not have the backing of a co-signer but have a solid business idea.

4. Peer-to-Peer Lending and Alternative Finance

Peer-to-peer lending lets people lend money to others online. It works well for women business owners who need loans.

  • Borrowers make listings for loan amounts needed and terms.
  • Investors choose which loans to fund with their money.

Benefits for women entrepreneurs:

  • May get funded faster than a bank loan
  • Often have lower rates and fees
  • Build credit history for future loans

Other financing options:

  • Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter let people donate to your business idea if they like it. You only pay back if you meet your funding goal.
  • Invoice financing lets you borrow against unpaid customer invoices. This gives you cash flow while waiting to get paid.

In situations where immediate funding is needed, 15-minute loans from direct lenders offer a swift solution. These loans are designed for quick processing, ensuring that entrepreneurs can access funds in a timely manner.

5. Networking and Women Entrepreneur Communities

Talking to other businesswomen can help you find money for your company. Attend events or join groups to meet investors and lenders.

Some good UK networks:

  • Everywoman Network helps women connect and grow their firms. They have talks, awards and support programs.
  • Women in Banking and Finance promote women leaders in money roles. They offer training, mentors and networking.
  • WeAllRaise invests in women-owned startups. Apply to their incubator for equity funding.

Tips to network for financing:

  • Go to conferences and pitches focused on women entrepreneurs. Meet investors looking to fund women-led firms.
  • Partner with vendors serving women-owned businesses. They may know lenders open to your company profile.

Joining women’s entrepreneur groups is wise. The contacts can help your small business get loans and investments. Attend meet-ups in your community, too. Each connection builds your funding network.


Getting startup money can be hard for women company owners. Do not get down if your first loan or pitch fails. Keep trying all the options this guide discussed. Funding exists out there if you persist and stay hopeful.

Apply to every suitable loan program, even if the odds seem low. Try crowdfunding sites and peer-to-peer lending, too. Attend women’s entrepreneur meet-ups religiously to grow your networks. Eventually, financing will click through one avenue.

Once you land early funding, use it to achieve growth milestones. Get promising traction and revenues. This will impress traditional investors down the road. Small early wins set the stage for bigger financing deals later on. Steadily build and you can transition from risky debt financing to equity infusions if the concept takes off.

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