The E2E Tech 100 which ranks the 100 fastest-growing tech companies in the UK has revealed that over 95% were led by men. Four women-led companies made the ranking, while one company was co-founded by a woman.

Only four of the male-led companies were led by men of colour and there were no women of colour in the ranking at all.

The ranking of privately owned, UK-based technology companies with a turnover of more than £10m over the past two years was based on independent research by Go Live Data and Experian – and published in association with The Independent. The ranking was based on the percentage total turnover growth over the two year period. Companies cannot self-nominate or be nominated.

According to the E2E ranking, the companies selected represent UK start-ups that are excelling, experiencing consistent growth and presenting disruptive business strategies.

E2E published a ranking solely for women across all industry sectors, the E2E Female 100, in March 2023.

The positive business case for women-led companies is being overlooked by many investors. Private technology companies led by women are more capital-efficient, achieving 35% higher return on investment, and, when venture-backed, 12% higher revenue than start-ups run by men, according to the US based Kauffman Foundation.

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On March 6th, the newly formed Department for Science, Innovation and Technology announced a plan to invest £360m to elevate the UK to a science and technology superpower by 2030.

None of the ten priorities areas outlined in the UK’s International Technology Strategy makes any mention of increasing the representation of women within the UK’s technology industry.

Sarah Austin, director of The British Business Excellence Awards told Verdict that there is an incredible amount of untapped talent that simply isn’t being recognised – and at worst, being stifled – to the benefit of a few, but at the cost of many.

“In the UK particularly, I believe we simply do not do enough from a young age, encouraging and engaging young girls to take an interest and develop in the technology sphere. There is still an underlying notion that boys can pursue whatever path they like – whilst girls must be more selective in their career aspirations.

Kemi Badenoch, the Minister for Women and Equalities, launched a pilot scheme in February, 2023, to help women facing work barriers due to caring back into STEM careers. According to the UK government, 43% of STEM vacancies are hard to fill while 75,000 STEM returners want to get back to work. Women currently make up 29.4% of the STEM workforce, according to the latest government figures.

Austin says the scheme itself is a fantastic initiative and a positive start. “But much more needs to be done beyond this current £150,000 funding – the industry is crying out for more women-led technology start-ups – and I truly believe if the UK can solve this deficit, we can be world leaders in the technology industry.”