Women, STEM and Investments: Closing the Gender Gap
Oxford Brookes University hosted a highly successful event on June 5th, 2023, as part of the Women Backing Women campaign.
The event brought together women researchers in STEM, founders of university spinouts, women business angels and investors, and key figures from the enterprise ecosystem. Organisations such as Innovate UK, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Francis Crick Institute, UKBAA, British Business Bank, and the NatWest Group participated in the event.
The event shed light on the gender gap in investment within university spinouts. While investment in university spinouts has increased significantly from £960 million in 2014 to £5 billion in 2021, only 18% of the 1,339 spinouts tracked by Beauhurst in May 2023 had at least one women founder. Research conducted by Oxford Brookes University, funded by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council, highlighted the challenges faced by women founders in securing investment to develop and grow their businesses.
One of the main concerns expressed by women founders is the lack of diversity among investors. The majority of investors are older males, creating an alienating environment for women seeking investment. The Women Angel Insights Report revealed that women business angel investors are more likely to invest in women-founded companies. However, women angel investors currently represent only 14% of the investment community. The report suggests that women spinout founders and women angel investors should collaborate to bridge the gender investment gap.
During the event, participants called for action to address the gender gap and promote equality within the STEM and investment sectors.