It has been confirmed that business support organisation and NEN member, Let’s Do Business Group will deliver Her Biz for another year as NatWest agrees to continue supporting the programme following its success across East Sussex and Kent.
The free women’s start-up programme has had 14 successful workshops so far with each group over-subscribed, so the extension of the contract will enable more aspiring female entrepreneurs to access the support they need to start a business.
Previous winner, Natasha Hildyard of Kent Crockery Ltd said, “Her Biz was so helpful. They helped me to create a business plan and prepare for the launch of my business. The programme leaders, Lisa and Helena are experienced in coaching start-ups and offer hugely valuable mentoring support to put you on the right track to achieve your goals. I would highly recommend the programme to anyone looking to start their own business.”
The programme initially launched in 2019 as a response to studies identifying that access to funding, suitable mentorship and a strong network are key requirements of female entrepreneurs. The NatWest Rose Review indicated that women are 55% more likely than men to cite fear of going it alone as a primary reason for not starting a business.
The research also found that only 39% of women are confident in their capabilities to start a business compared to 55% of men. Following this, the need for targeted, specific support was identified and Her Biz was launched by the local Growth hub and NatWest to help women overcome some of the barriers faced in entrepreneurship. Although improvements have been made since 2019, support is still essential: recent research by NatWest says that nearly three quarters (77%) of female business owners found managing their business in the pandemic stressful, compared to 55% of male entrepreneurs.
Her Biz will continue to unlock barriers for women as part of Let’s Do Business Group and NatWest’s commitment to support women in business. Consisting of four two and a half hour workshops and a one-to-one coaching session (through Zoom while social distancing measures are in place), participants will gain the tools, knowledge, and confidence to transform a business idea into a reality. As well as expert mentoring advice, the programme offers candidates a cash prize of £500 towards start-up costs in an optional business plan competition.
From dog-groomers, beauty consultants, sustainable manufacturers to interior designers, each programme has involved an inspiring group of women looking to achieve their goals. Working across various industries, the programme led by two expert start-up coaches work with participants to guide them in the right direction covering marketing, finance, business planning and more.
Nick Howe, Enterprise Manager, NatWest Business, said “We’re passionate supporters of UK enterprise and offer a wide range of services to people who want to start, run and grow a business. Enterprise is the lifeblood of a thriving economy, so we’re committed to removing barriers and providing more opportunities to help companies grow. But we also know that for many, it remains harder than it should be.
Beyond our support during Covid-19, we remain committed to helping create 50,000 new businesses across the UK by 2023, with women making up at least 60% of those we support and more than 20% being black, Asian, minority ethnic-led businesses. We will ensure that at least 10% of those inspired and supported will be social purpose led. Partnerships with wonderful community rooted teams such as Let’s Do Business Group really help us target this support where barriers are greatest. By helping to tackle the barriers to starting a business, there will be more opportunities to help companies grow.”
Lisa Young, Her Biz Coach said, “We are delighted to be able to continue supporting female start-ups. We have delivered the workshops both face to face and virtually and have helped many female entrepreneurs to successfully launch their new businesses, which in the current climate should be applauded for being brave enough to venture into the world of self-employment.”
The extension of the contract is fantastic news for women looking to take the plunge into business and a welcome movement in increasing support for women in business and creating new job opportunities.
Her Biz is currently recruiting for the next round of sessions in May and July 2021 and looking for aspiring female entrepreneurs in East Sussex and Kent. For more information, visit https://www.letsdobusinessgroup.co.uk/events/her-biz-virtual-workshops