Women in Leeds helped create 3,700 firms and generated £102m in 2015

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Women-led businesses in Leeds contributed £102m to the UK’s economy during 2015, new figures show.

Analysis by banking giant NatWest showed that companies run by women in the city created an additional 5,300 jobs during the year, with female entrepreneurs in Leeds having set up 3,700 businesses during that year.

The research, undertaken in partnership with Development Economics, revealed that the number of businesses launched by women in Leeds lags only slightly behind Manchester where 5,200 businesses were created by female entrepreneurs. London saw the highest rate of new businesses at 33,200.

Collectively female entrepreneurs contributed £3.15bn to the UK economy overall in 2015. However, despite a strong growth in female entrepreneurship overall since 2009, the number of women setting up a business in the UK still lags behind, costing the UK economy £1bn a year.

The research revealed that while the proportion of the UK’s female working population starting a business nearly doubled from 3.7 per cent to 7.1 per cent between 2009 and 2012, this has since tailed off, falling every year and standing at less than 5 per cent in 2015.

Lisa Ford, regional director of Commercial Banking at NatWest, said: “We know entrepreneurs are vital to the economy, and it’s fantastic to see just how much women contribute in Leeds and across the country, but it’s clear we need to do more to power this growth in the same way our global counterparts do.”

The proportional population percentage of new female entrepreneurs and women setting up a new business internationally saw Canada top the table, followed by the United States.

The UK was ranked sixth.

Ellie MacDonald founded PR agency MacComms in 2015 said: “I started the business because I wanted to control my own destiny.”

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