Female entrepreneurs to benefit from £2m mentor scheme

7 Nov

Women’s and equalities minister Theresa May is to offer support to more women to help them become their own bosses via a £2m scheme that will train 5000 volunteer mentors to be role models for female entrepreneurs. She said she wanted women to aspire to be more than glamour models, and to set their eyes on a more ambitious prize.

She said: “We need to improve body confidence, so young women realise their future will be defined by their abilities, not by what they look like. If we fully used the skills and qualifications of women who are currently out of work, it could deliver economic benefits of £15bn to £21bn per year. If women started businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an additional 150,000 extra start-ups each year in the UK. And if the UK had the same level of female entrepreneurship as the United States, there would be approximately 600,000 extra women-owned businesses, contributing an extra £42 billion to the economy.”

She added: “The prize – a more competitive economy, a more equal society and personal prosperity – is worth fighting for. That’s why I am determined to do everything in my power to put women at the heart of our economic future.”

Her comments coincided with the publication of a report from the Fawcett Society, which campaigns for gender equality, showing that “women have not faced a greater threat to their financial security and rights in living memory”, according to acting chief executive Anna Bird.

The Life Raft for Women’s Equality report, backed by 20 charities, unions and academics, calls for support for childcare costs for low-income families, and ring fencing funding for Sure Start children’s centres, to make sure that women are better off working.

Ms Bird added: “Women’s rights are under unprecedented attack. But the government has the power to help stop the clock turning backwards.We urge those who support our life raft to sign the petition on our website calling on government to adopt it in full, and join us on November the 19th for our national day of action in defence of women’s rights.”


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