The funding process for start-ups in the UK discriminates against female entrepreneurs, research has revealed.
As little as 9pc of the investment that poured into British start-ups in 2016 went to companies with a female founder, according to data from Barclays and the Entrepreneurs Network.
The newly released figures draw attention to a culture that gives preferential treatment to businesses run by men, according to the researchers. They reveal that male entrepreneurs are 86pc more likely than their female counterparts to raise venture capital funding in the UK. They are also 56pc more likely to win angel investment.
"It's frustrating that a significant proportion of funding goes towards male-founded or led businesses," said Annabel Denham, programme director at The Entrpreneurs Network.
"This is not just an economic discussion, though we know start-ups are vital to the UK economy: we want to see smart, savvy businesswomen getting the same opportunities as their male counterparts."
The figures from Beauhurst, which records all publicly available deals for high-growth companies in the UK, show that the situation has remain unchanged for a number of years.
Earlier data from the tracking organisation showed investments in companies with a female board member averaged £500,000 per deal from 2011 to 2015, compared with an average of £2.9m for those with no women on the board.
The research shows, however, that female-led businesses are less likely to fail, with 34pc of male founders' companies folding compared with 23pc of those run by women.
Increasing the number of female investors could prompt a change, with the number of women investors having quadrupled.
Debbie Woskow, co-founder of AllBright, a venture capital fund that invests in female entrepreneurs, said she hopes the situation is changing.
"Female founders are underfunded and yet deliver great returns for investors," she said. "I hope that through ventures like the Female Founders Forum and my new investment platform AllBright, we can change the conversation for the future."