On International Women’s Day 2018 The Telegraph launched Women Mean Business – a campaign to boost female entrepreneurship in Britain.
There are still only 26.6 per cent women on the boards of British companies; and not enough attention is paid to the difficulties women face when wanting to start their own business. The Entrepreneurs Network has found that just nine per cent of funding for UK startups goes to women-run businesses in the UK every year.
Which is why The Telegraphs Women Mean Business Summit, which took in London, was a welcomed opportunity for women from across the globe to come together and talk business.
Guest speakers included; Facebook’s Vice-President for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Nicola Mendelsohn and fashion retail expert Jane Sheperdson.
Amongst them was Penny Mordaunt, International Development Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities; who stated:
“This is a really important event. We could have £95bn added to UK economy by 2025” if we address the inequalities in men and women starting businesses.
“We talk about entrepreneurship because it’s always a choice. These people don’t do it to appear on the front cover of Forbes or fortune magazine. They do it because they have to.
“The fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the US is black women. They run 2.4 million businesses. And which group has the least access to capital? Yes, you guessed it.”
Other issues addressed included the lack of affordable childcare and the #MeToo movement; which has brought women from across the globe together to voice the abuse they have suffered.
Nicola Mendelsohn said that this campaign was an example of how women come together and support each other.
“I make sure that wherever I travel and whatever I do is bring women together at different times and different ways because something special happens. We inspire each other and get better connected.
“It’s not just women we can rely on to make progress. Men have to be part of the solution and the progress as well. If we’re going to make this progress quicker and prevent the abuses of the past, we need to challenge the institutional biases that are still prevalent in our workplaces and our communities.”
Events such as this are helping to highlight how women are being held beck from perusing businesses and reaching their career goals; despite their abilities to not only play key roles within companies, but also to create their own.
Deloitte estimates that help for female founders could provide a £100 billion boost to the economy over the next ten years, and Treasury minister Robert Jenrick stated that female entrepreneurship:
“may be the greatest economic opportunity of 21st century.”
Mr Ryan Otto – Business Adviser KTF