More Than a Third of Female Business Owners Put Growth Plans on Hold Due to High Interest Rates, Says Tide

More Than a Third of Female Business Owners Put Growth Plans on Hold Due to High Interest Rates, Says Tide

More Than a Third of Female Business Owners Put Growth Plans on Hold Due to High Interest Rates, Says Tide

  • Tide’s new Female Business Owners UK Index shows women entrepreneurs find it difficult to plan for the future
  • High interest rates, inflation and lack of access to finance hurting women-led SMEs
  • Despite this, three quarters, 74%, of women surveyed, expect revenue to grow in 2024
  • Tide is helping 200,000 women in the UK to launch new businesses by 2027

LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Female business owners are putting growth plans on hold due to high interest rates, a survey by Tide1, the UK’s leading business financial platform, reveals.

The findings form part of Tide’s new Female Business Owners UK Index, launched today. The index is a barometer examining challenges that women in the UK face when starting and growing their businesses.

With interest rates in the UK hovering at 5%, more than a third, 38%, said they have put growth plans on ice, and 37% said they struggle to manage cashflow. Of the 458 women surveyed by Tide, 339, or 74%, say high interest rates have had a negative impact on their business in the last 6 months. Of these women, 40% admit they struggle to plan for the long term, while a fifth (21%) say that profits go to pay back loans.

Women also revealed inflation (38%) followed by energy costs (25%) and difficulty accessing finance (25%) have had a negative effect on their businesses in the last 6 months.

Despite the challenges, the women surveyed remain overall highly optimistic. The majority, 74%, are positive about 2024 and expect revenue to grow this year. Almost one in five (18%) believe this growth will be significant.

Tide’s female members admit personal factors are likely to impact their businesses over the next 12 months. Feelings of low self-confidence (33%), not being taken seriously as a business owner (26%), and lack of help with caring responsibilities i.e., looking after children or elderly relatives, prevail.

Heather Cobb, SVP Member Engagement at Tide, said: “Today we’re launching Tide’s first Female Business Owners Index which highlights the challenges facing women when starting and growing their businesses. In the UK, participation of women in entrepreneurship remains stubbornly low compared to other advanced nations.

“Our research shows high interest rates create additional barriers for fledgling female entrepreneurs already struggling with issues like childcare and low self-confidence. I’m delighted to see that Tide’s female members are positive about 2024, however, we’re also calling on the UK to do more to encourage and nurture female entrepreneurs – especially as major political parties prepare for an election year.”

Through a content programme made up of videos, events and other engagements, Tide aims to promote gender equality and remove barriers to female entrepreneurship. The company is committed to helping 200,000 women in the UK and 500,000 women in India launch new businesses by 2027. Tide had already onboarded 100,000 female-led businesses by early 2023 – 10 months ahead of its 2023 end-of-year target.

Female-led businesses make up just a fifth (20%) of all new businesses in the UK2. Despite progress, overall only 5.6% of women in the UK run their own business3 – much lower than developed economies such as Canada (15%) and the US (11%).

About Tide:

Founded in 2015 and launched in 2017, Tide is the leading business financial platform in the UK. Tide helps SMEs save time (and money) in the running of their businesses by not only offering business accounts and related banking services, but also a comprehensive set of highly usable and connected administrative solutions from invoicing to accounting. Tide has 575,000 SME members in the UK (more than 10% market share) and 200,000 SMEs in India. Tide has also been recognised with the Great Place to Work certification.

Tide has been funded by Anthemis, Apax Digital, Augmentum, Creandum, Goodwater, Jigsaw, Latitude, LocalGlobe, Passion Capital, SBI Group, SpeedInvest and Tencent, amongst others. It employs nearly 1,600 Tideans worldwide. Tide’s long-term ambition is to be the leading business financial platform globally.


1Survey of 1,327 Tide members took place between 27 Oct to 18 Nov 2023

2The Rose Review 2023

3The Rose Review 2023



Robin Tozer, Alice Cho

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