60 female entrepreneurs to be given access to “world-class” business support

New Female Founders Programme will provide workshops, seminars, meet ups and coaching sessions from experts such as J.P. Morgan

The Female Founders Programme (FFP), an accelerator focused on helping enterprising women overcome barriers to success and grow their businesses, is set to launch on 1 March.

Supported by J.P. Morgan and delivered by social enterprises Hatch Enterprise and Enterprise Enfield, the programme will choose 60 London-based female founders to receive four month’s of workshops, seminars, meet ups and coaching sessions from a range of experts and mentors.

It will address common barriers to growth including a lack of confidence in skill set, access to finance and absence of female entrepreneurial role models.

Participants will also assess and refine their business models and be encouraged to address gaps in their knowledge such as leadership, human resources, finance, sales and marketing skills.

The FFP is being launched in response to findings from Royal Bank of Scotland that boosting female entrepreneurship could generate an extra £60bn for the UK economy by 2030.

While 10% of the UK’s female population want to start a business, women in the US are twice as likely to be entrepreneurially active as in the UK. If the UK were to achieve comparable levels of entrepreneurship, the report claims that 250,000 more businesses would be created.

Women are 10% more likely to see access to finance as a barrier to entrepreneurship, typically start businesses with around a 33% of the level of finance as men and employ a narrower range of finance to fuel growth.

However, education and training can narrow the gap: women who have undergone some form of enterprise training are twice as likely to be entrepreneurial. Additionally, 38% of UK women take advice from government business support, compared to 3% in Europe, and training is estimated to make people three times more confident about running a business.

Despina Johnson, chief executive of Enterprise Enfield, said: “With more than eight years’ experience delivering accelerator programmes for female entrepreneurs as they start, establish & grow successful businesses in North and East London, we can’t wait to support & inspire women on the Female Founders Programme”

Mrs Hang Ho, head of Europe, the Middle East and Asia global philanthropy for J.P. Morgan, commented: “UK small businesses face many challenges in their journey to becoming sustainable and profitable as they struggle to access the talent, finance and support to thrive.

“These difficulties are exacerbated by the current economic context particularly in low income areas, where women-lead small businesses face the toughest challenges. We want to help provide this much needed support as when small businesses succeed, our communities and neighbourhoods succeed too.”

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