Female-led companies now represent a fifth of all business in the UK -- up from 16% in 2018 -- despite increasingly challenging economic circumstances; and the proportion of women in boardroom roles at some of Britain’s biggest firms has risen above 40% for the first time, two reviews have found. In 2022, women launched 151,603 companies, with a fifth of all new incorporations by women entrepreneurs. The biggest jump was among 16-25-year-olds who launched 17,500 businesses -- an increase of over 25%. The review noted that £250bn in new value could be added if female founders started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men. The 40% target for FTSE 350 boards seemed ‘unattainable’ when it was set a decade ago, said FTSE Women Leaders Review co-chair Penny James. “This success spurs us on to achieve even greater equality of opportunity in leadership teams across the spectrum of British businesses.”

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