More than half of companies led by women have no external funding at all, compared with 30pc of male-led businesses – and three times as many female business leaders regard access to capital as their biggest challenge.
The results are from EY’s Global Growth Barometer, based on a survey of 2,766 senior business leaders.
In the report, advisory firm EY said the lack of access to funding matters in particular to high potential, early stage businesses. When such companies fail to secure funding they have a harder time scaling up, it noted.
The statistics for venture funding of early-stage companies are especially stark – in 2017 97pc of venture funding globally was invested in companies headed by men. The research also found that one in five women CEOs have no plans for raising capital, compared with just 3pc of male CEOs.
Perhaps to compensate, companies led by a woman are more likely to seek growth through collaboration with external partners.
The findings are announced in Ireland to mark National Women’s Enterprise Day, which aims to highlight the contribution of female entrepreneurs and to encourage more women to start their own businesses.
Almost three times as many women as men say funding is the most significant factor in building their company’s agility (17pc versus 6pc), while 17pc believe the cost and availability of equity finance is the greatest barrier to growth, compared with 11pc of male peers.
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