Female Entrepreneurship: Gearing Up For Business Growth

The event entitled ‘Female Entrepreneurship: Gearing Up For Business Growth’ was held on the 15th May 2014 in Birmingham.

Professor Kiran Trehan Co–Director of the Enterprise and Diversity Alliance (EDA) at Birmingham Business School, Birmingham University, the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) and the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) combined forces to host the event for small, women-led businesses to facilitate business growth and develop innovative models for business support.

The event opened with a presentation by Professor Trehan which set out the key issues faced by female entrepreneurs based on the research. This was followed by a response from RBS and NatWest which focused on how they are responding to the barriers women are facing.

Key highlights of the workshop included a presentation from a female entrepreneur around the challenges she faces as a leader of a small business and the role of mentoring in helping her grow her business; and a group interactive session between female entrepreneurs and finance and business specialists exploring how working collectively they could address key business issues women face in growing their businesses.

Some of the key concepts and issues that female entrepreneurs face in growing and developing their businesses that stemmed from the discussions on the day included:

  • Confidence issues
  • Gaps in financial knowledge
  • Access to business support and mentoring

In relation to confidence issues that female entrepreneurs face, the banks highlighted that they are helping to support female entrepreneurs by:

  • Sponsoring awards such as the ‘NatWest Every-Woman Awards’ to promote female role models
  • Providing top tips on their websites on how to make applications successful

In response to gaps in the financial knowledge that female entrepreneurs face, the banks are also working to support female entrepreneurs by:

  • Supporting female entrepreneurs in developing financial plans
  • Encouraging female entrepreneurs to borrow money as it is a tool for business growth
  • Highlighting that there are various support providers such as accountants that women can utilise for support

Finally, the banks explained that they have developed initiatives to help improve issues women face in accessing business support and mentoring including:

  • Establishing ‘Women in Business Specialists’ to provide specialist support to women
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring opportunities in collaboration with the EDA

This event marks the beginning of an important programme of collaborative work between RBS, NatWest and the EDA that aims to provide fresh insights, create innovations in support for female entrepreneurs and develop leading-edge research which promotes growth.

Find out more

Download a copy of the full event report.

Visit the CREME website.

For further details please contact Liz Frost, Centre Manager of CREME at: E.C.Frost@bham.ac.uk