'I invested into someone's dream': Why only 14% of angel investors are women

Yanbo Wang, angel investor with Anglia Capital Group. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Yanbo Wang, angel investor with Anglia Capital Group. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Angel investment contributes around £850m to the UK's start-up economy each year, with entrepreneurs given not only access to capital but often free business advice.

But despite being made increasingly popular by the likes of Dragon’s Den, only 14% of angel investors in the UK are female.

The Anglia Capital Group (ACG) is trying to change this, by networking more diversely across Norfolk and Suffolk, as well as promoting the successes brought about by having female angel investors in their group.

Yanbo Wang is one of the women who are part of ACG, having sold her business in China in 2006 and moving to the UK to study English.

Ms Wang, 48, began investing in the UK property and the share market, before moving into angel investment.

“Before I heard the data about female investors I had never considered the fact that I was a woman and that I was in the minority,” Ms Wang said.

“I think it’s about risk-taking. Women tend to be less inclined to take risks.”

Ms Wang grew up in the Himalaya Mountains in the Yunnan province of China.

She said: “Growing up around a lot of poverty, and with no one to have your back, I think that drove me to try and find security. Now I’m less afraid to take risks because of it.”

Research out of the UK Angels Association (UKBAA) has also revealed that female-led start ups are 21% more likely to succeed if backed by a female investor.

“I think it’s important to have a woman on board because often we think about things in a different way – we’re tough and will always try to find a way around things instead of giving up,” the former marketing executive said.

“I think it helps female entrepreneurs to have someone on the same page as them.”

Ms Wang has so far invested in three businesses, largely in the automotive industry.

She said: “You have to invest in a way that even if not all of your investments come back, you have one that’s good enough to cover your losses.

“Even if it goes wrong I just think to myself: ‘Yes, I lost money, but I invested into someone’s dream and helped them try to achieve it.’”

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