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Number of UK female business angels on the rise, claims report

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Professor Colin Mason and Adam Smith Business School student Tiago Botelho, in charge of the report, suggest that “driving the overall growth in business angel activity is the opportunity to invest alongside others in organised and managed angel groups. But given their relatively recent history as business angels it is not surprising that women are less experienced investors than men.”

Indeed, 44 per cent of women have made between one and three investments, compared with 20 per cent for men. On the other hand, 37 per cent of men had made over ten investments compared with just seven per cent of women.

The research also found that there are “few differences in the backgrounds of male and female business angels. Indeed, the pioneering women angels had very similar in terms of backgrounds to their male counterparts. However, the influx of new women business angels is changing this.”

Whereas men are likely to be in the 55-64 age band, women are becoming angels at a younger age (45-54). They are also less likely to have have entrepreneurial backgrounds than their male counterparts.

“The increase in the proportion of women business angels is the most significant finding from our 2014 Survey of Business Angels in the UK,” said Mason. “Our research suggests that women assess investment opportunities differently from men. Entrepreneurs need to understand this and adjust their investment pitches accordingly.”

Men put the product/service of the business ahead of the people running the business whereas women think in reverse, ranking the people as their top investment criterion.

Women were less likely than male angels to be influenced in their investment decision by the views of other angels. This was particularly noticeable among women who were members of all-women angel groups. This may reflect the overall lack of investment experience amongst other investors.

“There has undoubtedly been a marked increase in the number of wealthy, as well as entrepreneurial women capable of investing,” said Eileen Modral, manager of Oxford Investment Opportunity Network. “The entrepreneurs do so because they love business and enjoy sharing their knowledge. Theirs is certainly a more holistic approach to decision-making; they take a good look at the people, and what drives them to want to thrive in business.”

Concerned with issues surrounding gender diversity in business? Don’t miss Real Business’s First Women programme:

Drawing on ten years of the First Women movement and the phenomenal network of pioneering women the Awards has created, this programme features The First Women Awards and The First Women Summit – designed to educate, mentor and inspire women in all levels of business.

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