Women in business

Investing in women

Our commitment to empowering women in business

We’re absolutely committed to delivering meaningful and ongoing support to help all women in business realise their ambitions.

The challenges you might face in business are varied and complex. But we’re here for the long haul to help provide you with the expertise, skills, finance1 and knowledge you need for ongoing success.

Announcing Hannah as co-chair of the Invest in Women Taskforce

We’re delighted that Hannah Bernard, Head of Business Banking for Barclays UK has been appointed co-chair of the new Invest in Women Taskforce, alongside entrepreneur Debbie Wosskow. The industry-led, government-backed taskforce has committed to deliver real change by:

  • Aiming to create the world’s largest fund for female founders
  • Increasing angel investment for female-led businesses and encouraging more women to become angel investors
  • Boosting micro-funding, to increase access to finance for women.

“This is an area I am incredibly passionate about, so it’s a privilege to be offered this position. I believe we can improve investment in female-led businesses, from the help that female startups need for seed funding, through to the challenges of gaining scaleup investment." Hannah Bernard, co-chair of the new Invest in Women Taskforce

Our progress so far

In 2019, we pledged to help 100,000 women start up and run their own businesses. We’re delighted to announce that we’ve reached our target – and that we’ve set an even higher one to replace it. 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the support we’ve provided so far.

Starting out in business

We’ve provided expertise, dedicated events and specialised support to help women get their businesses up and running, including:

Our specialist coaching programme, which matches female entrepreneurs with Business Relationship Managers for dedicated sessions on business planning, cashflow forecasts, digital support and accessing finance

Our Eagle Labs support, which provides connection, skills and guidance for women in business

Creating the Female Founders Forum, in partnership with The Entrepreneurs Network. The Forum connects the UK’s most inspirational female founders with women whose businesses are on the edge of rapid growth, as well as drawing attention to the inequalities facing women in business.

Finance and investment

We connected women with the finance they needed to succeed, by:

Providing flexibility on our lending and finance options to help manage maternity leave and accommodate life changes, with family-friendly capital repayment holidays – where borrowers only repay the interest on their loan for a set amount of time

Launching accelerator programmes designed to give women in business access to valuable networks, mentors and investors, including AccelerateHer

Offering a range of tools, webinars and guidance to build understanding of the funding landscape and how to navigate it.

Building skills and education

Tackling gender inequality in business goes beyond providing assistance today. That’s why we’ve built skills and education for this generation and the next, by:

Delivering entrepreneurial life skills content to schools, featuring female role models and focused on building the practical skills necessary to start a business

Partnering with the British Library and its national small business service to deliver support on starting a business, building resilience and accessing finance 

Partnering with Ethical Angels to provide mentoring for female-led businesses and charities.

What’s next in our mission to support female entrepreneurs?

While great progress has been made, the same challenges still remain and we’re a long way from a level playing field.

That’s why we’re continuing our work to support female entrepreneurs and increasing our goal to support 150,000 women to startup, run and grow their businesses over the next three years. 

Want to know more? You can read about the work we’re doing and the work of the Female Founders Forum.

Specialist coaching to support women in business

Life ring.

Request a callback to be matched with a Business Relationship Manager

They’ll give you free help with business planning, cashflow forecasts, digital support, accessing finance and more.

What is specialist coaching and who can apply?

We offer four one-hour sessions with one of our Business Relationship Managers to help you manage and grow your business. 

All sessions are virtual and can work around your schedule. To apply, you need to have:

  • A business account with us 
  • At least one female founder 
  • A UK business with an annual turnover below £6.5 million.

Hear from women we’ve coached

“Really the biggest, most enormous thank you. From the very first moment Barclays gave me the confidence and vision to put myself out there again and the results are showing good signs already. I think the biggest thing for me is the confidence Barclays gave me in myself again, and my abilities and the energy to want to have another go...” – Anna Cook, Anna Letitia Cook Limited

“Engaging with my Relationship Manager was a refreshing experience. She provided a safe space to delve into our current business challenges, opportunities and direction. Her informal and relational leadership approach allowed for organic and meaningful exploration of areas where Barclays could offer support.
Ending the sessions with an investor pitch practice alongside Louise and her bank colleagues was an excellent learning opportunity that would usually be difficult to access. The connections we established with Barclays and other national contacts from the bank will undoubtedly prove beneficial as we seek to expand our services beyond the North East.” – Charlotte Windebank of FIRST Face To Face Ltd.

Investing in Women Code – Tackling the gender funding gap

Life ring.

Read the Investing in Women Code’s annual report

What is the Investing in Women Code and how are Barclays involved?

We were founding signatories of the Investing in Women Code – a government-led initiative created to shine a light on the challenges women face when starting and growing businesses, and to increase transparency on the funding gap and encourage financial services to provide more support.

Every year, we contribute to the Investing in Women Code’s annual report, which explores the ways signatories are nurturing female entrepreneurship and shares inspirational success stories of women in business.

We’re delighted that our services and several businesses we’ve supported feature in this year’s report, including our:

  • Eagle Labs programmes, networking support and resources
  • Black Founders Accelerator 
  • Business banking solutions that have helped kickstart women-led businesses and encouraged their growth.

Tools, inspiration and resources

  • Realise your potential

    Because you’re balancing more than just the books, we want to make sure you’re equipped with the right information, tools and networking opportunities to bring your business dreams to life

    Female Founders Forum

    We’re proud to have partnered with The Entrepreneurs Network (TEN) to set up the Female Founders Forum – a space where inspirational women entrepreneurs can connect, support each other and promote innovation2.

    Eagle Lab Events

    As part of our pioneering Eagle Labs platform, we’ve planned an exciting range of talks, events and workshops to help your business thrive.


    Whether you’re looking to unlock your own potential or nurture others, we’re here to help you develop the key skills you need to excel at work and beyond.

    Female Founders First

    Research shows the biggest challenges to female entrepreneurs are access to networks, business advice and capital.

    We’re committed to changing this, so we’ve teamed up with Techstars to create the Female Founders First programme. It’s an opportunity for 30 trailblazing female-led tech companies from around the globe to access mentorship and a range of online events and products. This helps them ready their start-ups for their next phase.

  • Female entrepreneur case studies

     Read about some of our female entrepreneurs – they share how they grew their business and overcame challenges.

    Empowering diversity in entrepreneurship

    Boosting business opportunities through education in local communities.
    Charlotte Windebank, founder of FIRST, shares how her business is making entrepreneurship more accessible to underrepresented groups. She also discusses the challenges facing women in business, her hopes for the future and more. 

  • Helpful tools and guides

    Our handy tools and guides will help support you and your business.

    Business insights

    Information and advice to help your business going forward

    We’ve put together a wide range of knowledge and insight for you – read up on plans, financial support, media and marketing and much more.

    Ethical Angel

    We’ve teamed up with Ethical Angel to mentor 100 female-led social SMEs.

    Her Own Boss podcast

    A podcast created by six of our graduates, designed to bridge the early-career confidence gap by inspiring and educating young women to find their inner entrepreneur.

    You can listen on Anchor, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or any other major podcast platform.

    Invest in Women Hub

    An independent resource for women who want to start, grow or scale their business in the UK. The Invest in Women Hub provides information about finance providers, networks, accelerators and events for women in business. You’ll find us there, along with other high-street banks, financial institutions and investors. 

Here to help you

Not sure where to begin? Discover the insights you need to start building a business you’re proud of today.

A desk with a laptop, pens and papers.

Writing a business plan

Your guide to a successful business plan

A good business plan defines what you want to achieve and how you intend to achieve it. Our guide could help you write yours.

 The Union Jack in front of the Flag of Europe

Brexit and beyond

Adapting to change

We’ve put together a series of articles and guides to support you and your business, and help you feel more confident about the future.

A man is writing with a laptop

Business money management

Help keep your business finances healthy

Sharpen your business money-management skills with our guides on managing cashflow.

Business bank accounts

Whether you’re a seasoned businesswoman or just starting out, our business accounts are here to help make banking simple. Make payments, send invoices and manage your account on the go with our award-winning app3. T&Cs apply.