Huge opportunity for women in business, says Santander

Data by Santander shows a third of all managerial roles in the UK were held by women in 2016 while there were just 32 female executive directors at FTSE 250 firms.

Analysis of official data by Santander shows that a third (35 per cent) of all managerial roles in the UK were held by women in business in 2016, up from 32 per cent in 2011. Separate analysis of listed businesses in the UK shows just 32 female executive directors at FTSE 250 firms and 24 for the FTSE Small Cap.

In addition, previous industry research finds that around 20 per cent of single-person businesses in the UK are owned and run by women, while a further 18 per cent of UK smaller firms that are employers are majority-led by women.

To help more women succeed in business, particularly in setting up and building their own business, Santander is making Women in Business a focus for the bank in 2017.

Under its Breakthrough brand, the bank is running a number of events and initiatives across the year around the UK, including the Women in Business Mentoring scheme and will hold dedicated Breakthrough in Branch events to support local women looking to start or who are already running their own businesses build networks in their own community.

Breakthrough has engaged with key partners like Cause4, Enterprising Women, Forward Ladies and Goldman Sachs 10K Small Business programme, and has supported female entrepreneurs by, among other things:

· Facilitating business education programmes;

· Running SME mentor schemes for female entrepreneurs; and

· Hosted international Trade Missions specifically for female-led businesses looking to trade overseas.

To coincide with International Women’s Day, which is about encouraging and supporting female-owned businesses, the bank hosted a Women in Business SME Showcase networking event. This involved a number of female-owned / female-led SME businesses which have been involved in the Breakthrough programme sharing their stories and insights on building a successful business.

The event took place at Santander’s main headquarters in Triton Square, central London. Participating businesswomen included Selina Russell, founder and owner of Cheeky Rascals; Victoria Green, founder of Victoria Green Ltd; Alice Holden and Fleurette Mulcahy, founders of Attollo Lingerie; and Bonnie Brulee, founder of Miso Tasty.

Sue Douthwaite, managing director, Santander Business Banking, says, ‘Getting more women into business should be an absolute priority for the UK. Unfortunately, the data shows that too few women are at the top of UK businesses or setting up their own companies, and this needs to change.

‘Santander is committed to helping more women succeed and, through our Breakthrough programme, we will be focused on getting more Women in Business in 2017 and beyond.

‘We hope that the SME Showcase event will inspire our staff to think about the bold steps they can take in their own careers, as well as demonstrate the value we add to the businesses we support. In particular, the female role models from these businesses who are benefitting from our multiple networks, connections and events such as this.’

Further reading on

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Women In Business