Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan describes himself, first and foremost, as a feminist. Speaking at AllBright’s celebration of female founders at City Hall this morning, Khan proselytised the virtues of breaking down barriers for women entrepreneurs–the biggest being the funding gap.
“We’ve seen major progress in number of women founders starting and growing business. Now, women are leading in every aspect of society. While it’s great to see amazingly talented and inspiring women celebrated as pioneers and role models for anyone looking to start their own business, it’s very clear that there’s so much more to do,” he said.
“The progress were making isn’t happening nearly fast enough. Nearly a third of senior managers are women in London, but men are earning nearly 20 per cent more. And there’s the funding gap for female entrepreneurs.”
“As a proud feminist and father of two teenaged daughters, my ambition is for London to be bold for change so young women and men can feel like they can grow in any sector,” says Khan.
Citing barriers for women in business, Khan explained the need to make growth finance accessible. “Female founders are an untapped asset in the country. One in ten women across the UK want to start their own business, but too many aren’t making the jump because of unnecessary barriers. Nearly a third say access to finance is holding them back, and alarmingly, over two thirds of women can’t identify a female role model in their field.”
AllBright is the first equity crowdfunding platform founded with the sole purpose of bridging the funding gap for female founders. Spearheaded by serial entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow and Anna Jones, AllBright went live last year to rousing support from the entrepreneurial community. For Wosskow, this is just the beginning. “The UK is seeing more women than ever before branching out to start their own businesses as female founders, but statistics show only 10 per cent of VC funding globally went to female founders in 2014/15, even though they consistently deliver fantastic results,” she said.