Start-ups missing out from lack of women investors

START-UP businesses are missing out because women are not being advised to make “angel” investments.

That was among the insights at the third Dorset Business Angels Investor Conference, where guest speakers ranged from global investors to leaders in industry.

Jenny Tooth, chief executive of the trade body UK Business Angels Association (UKBAA), said: “There are not enough women in the Angel market. This is a completely untapped pool of fantastic people who should be out there investing.

“Our research shows that only 14 per cent of angel investors are women. UKBAA spoke to 200 women – 110 investors and 90 non- investors – to understand the drivers for women to invest and the barriers that they are feeling for investment. It was interesting to find that women are not being advised to invest by financial advisers – they’re being given easy stuff to do, with limited risk.

“They’re being advised to invest in property and stocks and shares as these are regarded as less risky.

“Women we spoke to said that they are not being told about tax breaks and the opportunities for backing great businesses.”

She said she wanted to start by increasing the percentage of female angel investors from 14 per cent to 30 per cent.

“Having more women in the market investing will in turn help more female entrepreneurs to come forward to seek investment,” she added.


“In many parts of the country there is currently a real desert of Angel investment and we need to build more capacity,” she said.

Peter Cowley, recently named Best Angel Investor in the World 2017, told how he never invests in companies more than an hour’s public transport journey from home.

He said three people was the ideal size of team to invest in. “Two is good, one is no good but four is too many. Any more than that and there’s a much bigger pie that the entrepreneurs want money out of,” he said.

“Entrepreneurs must listen to their staff, listen to the market, to their suppliers and customers and listen to their angel investors. They must also not lie – the truth between entrepreneurs and investors builds trust and creates a better journey for all parties.”

He added: “Unfortunately only seven per cent of my investments are in women. This is mainly because I invest in STEM. Hopefully this will change though.

“I don’t mind entrepreneurs who have previously made mistakes, in fact I like those who have made mistakes and learnt from them and moved on.”

Seasoned investor Justin Levine talked about “mindful investing”, while Kurt Lyall, founder of Rocket Route, gave “exit lessons” for investors.

AAngharad Holloway, head of Talbot Heath School, told how it was preparing young people for the jobs of the future. Bill Cotton, executive director for environment and economy at Bournemouth council, talked about the opportunities available in Dorset. Nick Fernyhough of Saffery Champness and Scott Jones of Investec joined a Q&A session.