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Fund Her North co-founders launch female-focused angel investment network

A pair of female Northern investors are launching a new angel investment network that hopes to establish the North of England as the go-to destination for female-founded businesses seeking funding.

Driven by research findings that female-led businesses generate twice as much revenue per pound invested, despite receiving half the capital, newly formed Lifted Ventures is on a mission to drive change in the female founder space.

Lifted Ventures was co-founded by Jordan Dargue and Helen Oldham (pictured), who were previously known as the joint leaders of the award-winning North Invest angel network, and co-founders of Fund Her North, and Women Angels of the North.

The pair’s impressive track record and previous initiatives demonstrate their unique experience of building inclusive, early-stage investment capacity, angel networks and communities. Together, Jordan and Helen have facilitated over £450m of funding, helped over 500 entrepreneurs and became the most active Innovate UK investor partner outside of London. Now, they’d like to use everything they’ve learnt to turn talk into action when it comes to backing Northern women in business, starting with a shift in rhetoric.

Start-up funding is quoted as the biggest barrier by female founders with less than 1% of all venture funding being investment into businesses founded by all-female teams, according to The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship in 2023. To make it easier for female-led start-ups across the North to access early-stage funding, Lifted Ventures is creating a diverse investment community who are passionate about supporting female founders through capital, expertise and mentorship. Alongside creating angel investor and co-investor networks, Lifted Ventures provides full support to emerging female entrepreneurs, helping them to understand investment initiatives, the funding options available and ultimately help them become investor-ready.

Co-founder Oldham said: “Too often the conversation focuses on disparity, gender funding gaps, barriers and challenges. Lifted Ventures is focusing on opportunity.

“One of our main aims is to educate and inform investors on the proven business benefits and greater economic returns which result from supporting female-founded businesses.”

The pair have developed a series of tried-and-tested Angel Education Programmes designed to provide prospective, new and seasoned angel investors with the tools and support needed to make better-informed decisions when it comes to investing in early-stage female-led businesses.

“We understand that female-led businesses and women angels need tailored pathways to ensure that they’re successful,” added Dargue. “The education programmes we’re developing aim to provide investors and founders alike with the practical resources and knowledge they need to ensure success. Ensuring they can access the right pathways of support, collaborating and leveraging the power of our community is the only way to accelerate change, especially in economic headwinds.”

Lifted Ventures will officially launch with an event at the Shine Workspace in Leeds on February 29, supported by The British Business Bank. No More Talking is aimed at anyone within the investment community interested in learning more about the business benefits of backing women and making a lasting change to the female founder space.

Joining Jordan and Helen will be guest speakers, giving unique perspectives on the opportunity to back intersectional female founders; how to understand their needs and provide relevant investment pathways. Fintech trailblazer Joanne Dewar will be keynote speaker, while chief executive of Leeds City Council, Tom Riordan CBE, will close the event.

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