Women Mean Business – supporting women into entrepreneurship

Quick admission upfront: having to write ‘female entrepreneur’ makes me squirm. As with ‘female boss’ and ‘female boxer’, we shouldn’t have to add the word female. 

But we do.  

And it’s no surprise because evidence cited by the 2020 Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship commissioned by the Government and led by Alison Rose (CEO of Natwest and first women to head a major UK lender) found that:

– Only 1 in 3 UK entrepreneurs is female: a gender gap equivalent to ~1.1 million missing businesses

– Female-led businesses are 44% of the size of male-led businesses on average, in terms of their contribution to the economy

– Only ~6% of UK women run their own businesses, compared to ~15% of women in Canada, almost ~11% of women in the US, and over ~9% of women in Australia.

The Review cites perceived bias within the UK venture finance community as a concern because:

– Only 13% of senior people in UK investment teams are women

– Almost half (48%) of investment teams have no women at all

– Less than 1% of UK venture funding goes to all-female teams and just 4% of deals

Not a very rosy outlook, is it?

Some of the recommendations the Review include: 

1. Increased funding directed towards women; 

2. Greater family care support for female entrepreneurs

3. Making entrepreneurship more accessible for women and increasing support locally, through relatable and accessible mentors and networks.

We don’t have a single magic bullet (or massive budget) to solve all three problems but we can certainly do our bit to address the third recommendation. 

That is why on 23 and 24 March, Upstream is partnering with Imperial College London’s White City Incubator to run two half-day workshops, targeted at women entrepreneurs.  

It’s sector agnostic and open to those from ideation stage right up to those who already have a market. It’s an opportunity to explore entrepreneurship as a career, enhance skills and confidence, develop additional employability skills or understand how to grow their existing business and network. 

Across the two days, we will feature experts to tackle typical entrepreneurial pain points from idea canvas and business model basics to pitching and presenting, understanding customers, branding and online presence. 

More than skills, we want to use the workshops to create a community of women with an entrepreneurial spirit, who are empowered to support each other’s ideas, make incredible connections, build valuable life skills and most importantly, have fun!

In Hammersmith & Fulham, we have no lack of amazing entrepreneurs. A roll-call of fabulous women includes Enass Abo-Hamed (H2GO Power), Irra Ariella Khi (Zamna.), Hasna Kourda (Save Your Wardrobe); Chrissie Rucker (The White Company) and Dana Tobak (CEO, Hyperoptic). Between them, they cover sustainability, blockchain and aviation security, fashion, and fibre broadband. We also have the inimitable Check Warner leading the charge at Ada Ventures and Diversity VC, seeking to invest in overlooked founders and bring a greater diversity of players to the venture capital industry. 

But there’s space for more. 1.1 million more, if you believe the Rose Review.

Come along on 23 and 24 March for the workshops we’re running. Register here.

Stay for the friends you make.

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