New research by Santander has found that over three quarters (81%) of young people aged 11-18 years were unable to name one female business owner - highlighting the lack of visible role models to inspire future generations.

When asked, over 60% of girls aged 11-18 years said they have not considered starting their own business, with the majority stating this is because they don’t know anything about starting their own company.

At Santander we want to change this so we've put together this guide to support the journey to becoming an entrepreneur.

Do you think you have a business idea but you're not sure what to do next?

Take a scroll through the guide below where you’ll find top tips from a range of women entrepreneurs designed to inspire you to start a company and become a future business founder.

Introductory guide to entrepreneurship

Susan Davies

Head of Business Banking

The ethos that drives our bank-wide commitment to entrepreneurship is a simple one, when entrepreneurs start businesses and create jobs, we’re all building a more sustainable and inclusive society.
Helping start-ups is a huge part of what we do every single day.

Top tips from female entrepreneurs

Women and entrepreneurship: support at Santander

We’ve launched our second Women Business Leaders Mentoring Programme, powered by Women Ahead, to deliver a mentoring scheme for the next generation of fast-growth female entrepreneurs. The 2020 programme is now closed for applications but you can register your interest for our next round.

Breakthrough events

Our unique Santander Breakthrough programme of events held up and down the country is a great way to gain new knowledge, resolve problems and expand horizons. Although the events are designed to support all SME business owners grow their business, we also include activities that are tailored to support success for female entrepreneurs.

Business pitching competition

The Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards launched in 2011 has grown to be one of the UK’s largest entrepreneurial business pitching competitions for students and recent graduates, where the best and most forward-thinking entries can receive equity-free seed funding, mentoring and start-up support.

The competition is open to everyone, but we’ve had a number of fantastic female entrepreneur winners along the way who we have supported and are showcased as part of this guide. This includes Lauren Bell, our 2019 winner!

Pioneering research

We’ve joined forces with PRECIOUS, an online magazine, network and resource for women of colour, to understand the opportunities and challenges faced by women of colour in the business world. The research is being collated and we'll be publishing our findings in 2020 to understand what support activity is required to help people and businesses prosper.

Investing in women

We’ve signed up to the Investing in Women Code which is a commitment to support female entrepreneurship by improving women’s access to the advice, resources and finance needed to build a business. It represents a determination to tackle the barriers that are still faced daily by female entrepreneurs and ensures a great business idea has the chance to succeed.