A report launched  to coincide with International Women’s Day this week reveals the critical role women play in driving economic growth across the UK, with detailed research on 1,279 women-led companies showing a total contribution of £25.9bn in revenue to the UK economy.

At the heart of these “robust, dynamic and scalable” businesses across the UK, the report shines a light on the hidden figures bolstering economic growth:

  • 1,283 growing women-led businesses with £1-250m annual turnover, grew at a median rate of 17% in the past year.
  • 44% of businesses grew by 20% or more and 21% grew by 50% or more.
  • The total revenues (together) increased by over £4 billion from last year. This was a median annual revenue increase per woman-led company of £1m, which represented an increase of £115,000 from 2017.

Of these companies, the technology sector displayed significant growth rates. The highest average growth – 121% – comes from 82 technology companies with a turnover between £1m and £10m, suggesting that these companies are still expanding. These 82 companies alone turned over a total of £339m, proving that female participation in tech is crucial to the future of the UK economy.

The report, compiled by Founders4Schools (F4S), the edtech charity that brings business leaders into schools to increase the employability of young people, was created in partnership with Mortimer Spinks, technology recruitment experts and advocates for diversity and inclusion, in association with EY and London & Partners.

In today’s world, technology permeates the majority of industry sectors, with advances leading to high levels of innovation and disruption. In saying this, women remain severely underrepresented in the technology sector and the report amplifies the need to encourage more young women to pursue STEM subjects, or to consider a career in technology.

Kayleigh McHale, senior consultant at Mortimer Spinks, said: “Women-led businesses made huge contributions to the UK economy in the past year, across a wide variety of industry sectors – with phenomenal growth in tech.

“Given what we know about female under-representation in technology, the importance of growth achieved by women-led tech businesses cannot be overstated. We must encourage more female students and women to pursue careers in tech to help the UK reach its economic goals.

“Our report in partnership with F4S, highlights the fact that women build impactful and dynamic technology businesses that scale – debunking the idea that women always seek to lead ‘lifestyle businesses’.

“It also shows that highest levels of growth are achieved through doing something that makes a difference. When you build or create something that’s important to people: customers, talent and investment will follow.”