New initiative to establish women founder growth boards to address imbalance of high-growth activity

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A new initiative, supported by Lloyds Bank, plans to create regional women-founder growth boards in five cities across the UK, in a bid to make high-growth entrepreneurship more accessible to women outside of London and the South East.

The Lifted Project is a data and ecosystem-led approach to increasing the flow of capital to regional, high-growth women founders. A five-year project aligned with the Investing in Women Code and Treasury.

The initiative is led by Zandra Moore, co-founder and CEO of Panintelligence, an award-winning business intelligence software based in Leeds. The program was established as a result of a recommendation from the Women-led High Growth Task Force which is chaired by Anne Boden founder of Starling Bank, and supported by Lifted Ventures - an early-stage investment connector focused on increasing the flow of capital to women founders.

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Almost 45 per cent of England’s high-growth enterprises are located in London. Considering that only 13 per cent of the UK’s population resides in London, this represents a clear regional imbalance of high-growth activity. Double this with the challenges that women face in accessing funding, The Lifted Project aims to make high-growth entrepreneurship more accessible to women outside of the capital.

Zandra Moore, Jordan Dargue and Helen OldhamZandra Moore, Jordan Dargue and Helen Oldham
Zandra Moore, Jordan Dargue and Helen Oldham

Starting and scaling a business, particularly achieving high-growth status, can be significantly easier in an established area like London. Easier access to funding, connections, knowledge sharing, talent, and customer base all contribute to the uneven picture across the UK, which results in the disproportionate volume of high-growth enterprises founded in London and the South East.

“As a female founder outside of London, you face a double disadvantage. You already have to work harder than a man to sell yourself and your business, working through the countless barriers that we outline in this report. But you also have to sell your city as a place to grow and scale a business” said Zandra Moore. “The ambition and talent are there in our regions. The support and access to capital is not.”

Regional Women-Founder Growth Boards will act as positive change-makers in five cities across the UK, starting with programs in Leeds, Newcastle, Birmingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh. The Growth Boards have access to a Women Founders Dashboard, a sustainable data model specifically for the region that enables opportunities to be identified and progress to be monitored. They’ll also have access to real-time data sets from PanIntelligence and The Data City to underpin regional activities, drive the regional strategy and accelerate momentum.

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Lifted Ventures, a key delivery partner for the initiative, will provide the non-profit organisation and governance structure for the project, support the launch of each regional growth board and facilitate introductions to their angel communities and investment networks.

The Lifted Project LogoThe Lifted Project Logo
The Lifted Project Logo

“Lifted Ventures exists to educate and inform the investment community on the proven business benefits and greater economic returns which result from supporting female-founded businesses,” said Jordan Dargue, Co-founder of Lifted Ventures. “We’re thrilled to be a delivery partner of this initiative, supporting Zandra and Lloyds Bank to create a powerful ecosystem of regional advice and support, as well as access to role models, for women at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey.”

“Lloyds Bank is committed to supporting and championing women entrepreneurs and helping them thrive in their business journey. We’re proud to be supporting the Lifted Project and the establishment of Regional Growth Boards following the recommendations from the Women-Led High-Growth Enterprise Taskforce report. High-growth businesses are a vital part of the economy, but with 65 per cent of all-women-founded high-growth enterprises located in London and the South East, we need to face the significant barriers that exist for women building high-potential growth businesses within other regions of the UK. This programme takes a data-led, local ecosystem approach that is invaluable for supporting women to overcome challenges, gain funding and achieve success”, said Eleanor Baker, Inclusive Business at Lloyds Bank.

Women-Founder Growth Boards bring together public and private sector stakeholders with a common goal: to increase the number of female-founded high-growth enterprises by 50 per cent within three years. While the initial focus of the board initiative will be gender, there is potential to expand provision to minority groups when the model is proven.

For more information about The Lifted Project, visit:

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