NatWest and Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub, have teamed up with regional companies to bolster female-led businesses in the region with the launch of the region’s first ever Female Entrepreneurship Month this November.
A series of events and workshops will take place across the region this month, designed to inspire more women to start their own business, as well as provide support and guidance to those who are already trading.
The launch comes off the back of the Rose Review of female entrepreneurship which revealed £250 billion could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men. It also highlighted that only one in three entrepreneurs is female.
Around 36% of businesses supported by Boost are female-founded and the growth hub and NatWest hope that November’s events will help continue to tackle the national disparity.
Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “Following the findings of the Rose Review, it’s clear that women experience more barriers than their male counterparts when it comes to starting and scaling a business. Lancashire has a strong appetite for supporting female-led businesses and we are proud to work with Boost to deliver this month-long programme of female-focused events.
“Backing female entrepreneurs helps everyone. It helps women of course, but it also helps our economy, the start-up and business ecosystem, and the wider region. For too long women have been put off from starting a business and we want to make this a thing of the past.”
Highlights of the month-long calendar of events include NatWest’s Pre-Accelerator Ignition event for early stage businesses and the Crowdfunder-partnered Back Her Business workshop which will provide tips for female entrepreneurs looking to embark on crowd funding.
One such business which will benefit from this month’s events is MissKick a clothing company and social enterprise, which was founded by Lancashire-based Grace Vella.
The 22-year old grew up playing football and after finding there was a lack of clothing choice for girls in this area, started designing and selling t-shirts from her home in Skelmersdale in June 2018.
More recently, she has launched the MissKick Foundation to deliver grant-funded girls-only projects and initiatives that include football and education. Their first session was held in Preston and Grace hopes the foundation and its initiatives will have a presence in every school in Lancashire over the next few years.
Grace is part of NatWest’s current Business Accelerator Programme based in Manchester.
She said: “By joining NatWest’s Accelerator programme I am hoping to drive forward my business growth plans and take advantage of the mentoring and advice on offer. As a female-led business I know how difficult it can be to take that first step to launching on your own and hope that other female entrepreneurs like myself will benefit from November’s Female Entrepreneurship Month and its events.”
Andrew Leeming, Boost programme manager, Lancashire County Council, said: “There are so many success stories of female entrepreneurs in Lancashire who have achieved amazing things with the help of Boost. It’s clear that female-led businesses are on the rise, as 47% of business start-ups receiving Boost support in the past three years have been headed up by females.
“However, Lancashire needs to do much more. Research shows female-led businesses struggle to access the same funding and support opportunities as males. We need to shine a light on female role models, growing businesses and the excellent female support networks available in Lancashire. We’re partnering with all organisations working with female entrepreneurs to focus, collaborate and inspire a new generation of businesses.”
To sign up to the events, please click here.