We have a female linesman officiating in the Premier
League, a woman commentating on Match of the Day and Jessica Ennis
as the face of the biggest sporting event this year.
Yet despite women making positive inroads into sport - and
outnumbering men, since 51% of the UK population is female - only
17% of business owners are female.
It's a worrying statistic - and one that seems illogical.
Women-led businesses outperform those run by men when business
characteristics are accounted for, according to a study
commissioned by RBS. Heck, just take a look at Smarta,
founded and led by Shaa Wasmund, or any one of Smarta 100 judge
Deborah Meaden's businesses, or the fantastic Martha Lane Fox.
So why are so few women following in their footsteps?
RBS wants to answer these questions and redress the balance. It
is pledging to inspire and enable 20,000 women to unlock their
The bank is putting its money where its mouth is too, by making
£1.5m available over three years to provide grants of up to £50,000
a pop to UK organisations that encourage and support women in
Organisations can apply for funding until Friday 2
November at www.rbs.com/inspiringenterprise.
"A gap between the numbers of male and female entrepreneurs
still exists - and we are doing all we can as a bank to close it
down," says Chris Sullivan, CEO of Corporate Banking at RBS. "The
research launched on 22 October goes some way in illustrating the
perceived barriers to women, and I hope that this RBS Inspiring
Women in Enterprise funding helps to provide support where it is
We think this is a truly brilliant initiative from our partner.
And we'd be interested to hear your views on why more women aren't
running businesses. Let us know why you think men are twice as
likely to start a business by leaving a comment below, and talking
to us @SmartaHQ.
For more information on the report by RBS, head to: