New business platform will tackle women’s start-up challenges in the UK
WOMEN are still facing ongoing challenges when starting and scaling up businesses in the UK, states a new report by the Treasury today. However, a new digital hub, developed by everywoman, that has been created to empower the next generation of female entrepreneurs, could provide a solution.
everywoman – founded in 1999 and the largest female business network in the UK – has launched a new digital service which could potentially boost the UK economy by £221bn. Supported by some of the country’s most successful businesswomen, the platform will allow aspiring women business owners to source relevant start-up support, while scale-up and growing businesses can access vital tools and resources – all on one centralised hub for the first time.
Robert Jenrick, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said: “I am delighted to see everywoman launch their female entrepreneur’s Hub. The programme builds on the recommendations of the Rose Review, which we’ve published today, and will help achieve our goal of closing the entrepreneurial gender gap. We are setting a national ambition to increase the number of female entrepreneurs by 50% over the next 10 years.
“These entrepreneurs make a vital contribution to our economy. By harnessing their extensive experience, everywoman will not only help increase the number of women starting businesses but also accelerate the growth of these businesses – something we can all benefit from.”
This new initiative, which also celebrates everywoman’s 20 year influence on enterprise support provision for women in the UK, will join other successful programmes already operated by everywoman on both a national and global level, thanks to the ongoing support of its multinational brand partners.
To highlight the contribution women-led businesses already make to the British economy, and to tackle the current problem, the hub will be launched with a nationwide campaign that will see hundreds of female entrepreneurs sharing their professional success stories. The #ewselfmade campaign will be launched with one of the UK’s most admired self-made business owners, founder of Specsavers Dame Mary Perkins. Together with other high-profile female entrepreneur supporters that include Charlotte Tilbury, Cath Kidston and Carol Kane founder of boohoo.com, the campaign aims to unleash the entrepreneurial spirit in thousands more women in the next three years.
The resources found on the new platform will be offered free of charge, subsidised by the generosity of #ewselfmade Ambassadors including Dame Mary and everywoman partners, NatWest.
Visitors to the new platform can expect to find:
- An easy to build press room that enables women to get their business in the media, build their company profile and distribute their news to over 10,000 leading journalists, bloggers and broadcasters.
- Real time access to a vast array of upcoming nationwide networking events, trade shows, and profile-raising opportunities.
- All-important stories and advice from the hundreds of women who have been there and done it.
- Curated advice, guidance and top tips from professionals to support their entrepreneurial journey, from getting started to getting investment.
Rosaleen Blair CBE, Founder and CEO of Alexander Mann Solutions comments on #ewselfmade: "The potential value of female entrepreneurship to the British economy is significant and failure to unlock it will undoubtedly be bad news for British business. Having started and grown a successful business, I am hugely driven to encourage other women to do the same. It is so important for women in business to have the support and infrastructure available to them that goes beyond financial backing. The advice, inspiration and mentorship that the everywoman entrepreneurs’ Hub brings to the table will have a tangible impact for female entrepreneurs in all aspects of driving and scaling their businesses.”
In addition to this unique service for female entrepreneurs, in 2019, as everywoman celebrates its landmark 20thbirthday, it will launch a multi-million-pound investment fund to help power up existing women-led businesses.
Karen Gill MBE and Maxine Benson MBE co-founders of everywoman, said: “The impact that women could have on our economy shouldn’t be underestimated. Now is the time for action to get female-run businesses to scale up and fulfil their potential.
“From our 20 years of working with female entrepreneurs, we have heard, on countless occasions, how access to relatable role models plays a huge part in unlocking new breakthrough thinking. We know and have seen first-hand how they guide, motivate and encourage women to turn a business idea into a really successful reality.”
Insights from everywoman’s members alongside input from its Ambassadors uncovered four essential areas that work in tandem to grow a fledging business. These areas form the content available through the everywoman’s entrepreneurs’ Hub.
Karen shared what these four areas are: “Access to Finance is clearly critical and our investment fund will make a big difference when it debuts later this year. From experience Networking and Mentoring is vital to business success too, to not only inspire and inform women but also to open-up referral opportunities.
“PR and Marketing play a huge role in contributing to the success of any business. Our research shows women have a respect for its ability to tip a business into another stratosphere, but do not know how to do it. We will be providing women with free PR and Marketing advice through our new platform.”
And finally, those all important stories and Tips for Success from those that have already grown successful enterprises.
Our partner, NatWest has played a critical role to develop the platform. Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise and Community Finance at NatWest, said: “Our partnership with everywoman spans over 18 years of building and driving sustainable programmes to support and advance women in enterprise. The dial has shifted but women are still under-represented in business ownership and statistically, men are more likely to set up their own business than women. This simply isn’t good enough and now is the time for real action to instigate real change.
“everywoman has rightly identified that practical business solutions sitting alongside real-life relatable stories of success is what’s needed. That’s why we’ve worked closely with them to create their new digital hub - It does exactly what it says on the tin: helping budding female business owners become the ‘self-made’ entrepreneurs that they have always dreamed of being. It is packed with valuable information that will provide a fantastic short-cut for those needing to understand the more complex areas of running a business, particularly regarding legal and financial issues which can seem daunting if this isn’t your area of expertise, helping to make businesses more profitable, connecting with the right networks and closing the business gender gap in our communities.”
Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers and a long-standing Ambassador for everywoman added: “What really excites me about this new initiative from everywoman is the real-time access businesswomen will get to media influencers and bloggers. PR and Marketing are such important disciplines for any start-up or scale-up business. Without it, there is no awareness of their product or service with potential customers; or depth of message on unique selling points.
“What this new platform offers businesswomen is effective marketing tools to create greater audience reach and access to the press journalists who can provide independent, credible reviews that are implicitly trusted by their followers. If positive, these reviews can have an incredible impact on sales so I encourage all aspiring women out there to take advantage of this wonderful new service from everywoman.”
Established in 1999, everywoman was co-founded by Karen Gill MBE and Maxine Benson MBE and now has a presence in over 100 countries, making it globally recognised as the professional organisation that drives the development of women at all levels.
The campaign launches as everywoman approaches its 20thanniversary in 2019. Maxine Benson MBE said: “Great strides have been made since we first started out as female entrepreneurs, but more work is needed. It will be exciting to see how businesses are flourishing a few years from now, thanks to the counsel and support provided through our #ewselfmade campaign.”
Research showing women led and owned businesses are estimated to contribute 13.3% of total GVA. Source: FSB,