International Women’s Day 2024

International Women’s Day continues to shine an important spotlight on the achievements and success of women across the globe, but it is also a key moment to highlight the challenges and disparity that women still face. This disparity can still be seen clearly within business, especially for female founders, entrepreneurs and investors.

Pitchbook’s recent analysis of female founders in the venture capital ecosystem shows glimmers of improvement across Europe, but still a long road ahead. 2023 saw an all-time high when it came to the total deal value and deal count for female-founded startups, representing just over 20% of the total deal value generated by startups. Venture Capital Journal’s analysis of the global market also paints a slightly more positive picture, with women-led funds’ share of total fundraising increasing. Despite this uptick, of the $107bn raised last year by venture funds, only 3% was for women-led funds, an increase from 2% the previous year. This figure shows the continued uphill battle that women in this space still face.

When the UK’s Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt stood up earlier this week to deliver his Spring Budget, he avoided mentioning an important policy reversal that, on a day such as this, deserves attention. Changes to the rules for angel investment were implemented in January, and saw the qualifying threshold increase from £100,000 to £170,000. After the launch of an open letter to the Chancellor, from The Startup Coalition, attention was quite rightly drawn to how this increase would negatively impact women.

Frustratingly, a policy like this was completely at odds with the government’s strong support for the UK’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. The reversal of this policy was celebrated by the community, but this was actually a backtrack, following an error of judgement, rather than a step forward to support female investors.  One of Home Grown’s ambassadors and co-founder of Angel Academe, Sarah Turner, spoke out about this in a recent interview with the Financial Times. She calls for “a whole new approach that is based on people’s ability to assess risk”, rather than an “arbitrary” wealth threshold. Calls such as this need greater attention in order for us to level the investment playing field for women.

Home Grown has always been extremely proud of its backing of female founders and investors. EU Startups’ recent list of Europe’s most influential women in the startup and venture capital space, feature a number of our members and ambassadors. These include IQ Capital’s Managing Partner Kerry Baldwin, and Jenson Funding Partners’ Sarah Barber. Over the past few days and into next week, we have 6 events taking place, related to International Women’s Day.

Funding for any startup, or business looking to scale is still extremely challenging at this point in time, with geopolitical and economic pressures ever present. The worry is always that investors retreat in times of crisis to what they know best, and the reality is that these can sometimes mean safer, less diverse investment opportunities. Whilst we’ve seen a small increase in the backing of female founders and investors over the past year, we will continue to shine a spotlight on the opportunities to back women here at Home Grown, not just today, but throughout the year.


For those seeking to immerse themselves in a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem, consider joining Home Grown Club. Explore exclusive events, resources, and opportunities to connect with industry leaders by reaching out to today.