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Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

2008 Prospectus

Introduction

Female entrepreneurship is increasing. Nationally, the number of female led businesses has topped one million. The percentage of women considering starting a business has risen 17% since 2000. Yet women remain the largest under-represented group in the UK in terms of enterprise – offering a wealth of untapped talent and economic opportunity – the importance of which was highlighted by the Government’s Enterprise Strategy 2008. For more information visit the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR) website www.berr.gov.uk The gap between female and male entrepreneurship remains stubbornly wide. Despite women making up half the UK’s population, they constitute only 27% of those in self-employment. Among 4.5million enterprises in the UK, just 13% are majority women-led. Men are still almost twice as likely as women to start a new business. That said, nationally women-owned businesses contribute approx £60 billion to the UK economy annually. It’s estimated that more than 160,000 women in the Northwest have thought about starting a business, but haven’t yet done anything about it. The 2006 Regional Economic Strategy (RES) identified Enterprise as a Key Factor which included actions: to promote enterprise as a career choice, business start-up and survival (high growth, disadvantaged groups and areas, and social enterprises) and to provide business support for priority sectors, high growth and medium sized businesses and those in the rural economy.

To this end the region has produced a Regional Enterprise Strategy to provide a framework for enterprise development in the Northwest; the overarching aim being to ensure that public sector support in the region is tailored to meet the needs of, and is accessible by, businesses, individuals and communities. Women are identified in the Enterprise Strategy as an underperforming group requiring tailored business support. The strategy highlights that support for such groups needs to be focussed on: understanding of the barriers and needs for targetted interventions, ensuring specific initiatives such as networks, ambassadors and role models are developed in-line with mainstream enterprise support, together with initiatives aimed at overcoming specific barriers e.g. child care arrangements, plus support for expansion into markets beyond familiar communities and networks. Consider this: if women started businesses at the same rate as men, there would be 150,000 extra start-ups in the UK each year and if the country matched US levels of female entrepreneurial activity there would be 900,000 more businesses blossoming across the country. This publication identifies work already underway and how collectively we can advance women’s enterprise for the benefit of the region as a whole.

Elaine Owen - Chair, NWWEF


Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

2008 Prospectus

The Regional Picture on Women’s Enterprise Regional Here is an overview of the current Northwest programme of activity: • Advocates - 5 Women’s Enterprise Advocates in the region. An active vocal presence in each of our sub-regions, they promote the benefits of women’s enterprise and help to develop a positive climate • Women’s Enterprise Ambassadors - Part of a national campaign that brings together female entrepreneurs to act as role models and champion women’s enterprise. There are more than 150 Ambassadors who meet quarterly and are committed to inspiring others to embark on their own enterprising journey • Regional pilot of a virtual women’s business centre, NWDA will be one of 4 RDA’s piloting the women’s business centre model set out in the Government’s Enterprise Strategy • Regional Women in Business Awards - March 2008 saw the launch of the first ever regional Women in Business Awards. The event was attended by some of the Northwest’s leading, talented female entrepreneurs, regional stakeholders and partners and the media. This is now a highlight in the business calendar


Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

2008 Prospectus

The Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum (NWWEF) was formed in 2004 by the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA). The NWWEF’s role is to act as a key strategic body helping to influence partners and stakeholders and to create an environment in the Northwest in which women have access to quality business support and training. The group comprises 12 Forum members whose task is to drive policy-making activities and ensure good governance. It serves as an interface between key strategic partners at regional and national levels with direct links to business women via its members and partners.

Mission To ensure the contribution of women’s enterprise is recognised and respected in the Northwest, nationally and internationally, resulting in a significant increase in the number of women starting and growing businesses.

Vision A Northwest region where enterprising women have the skills, confidence, support and opportunities to make an equal contribution to economic prosperity.

Strategic Priorities These are framed by both national and regional enterprise strategies. NWWEF’s activities focus around: • Increasing awareness of enterprise, including social enterprise, among women region-wide (with a particular focus on unemployed or economically inactive women) • Creating an environment where women-led businesses are able to develop and grow, with the right kind of quality support, at the right time

• Increasing understanding plus the creation of a positive attitude towards women’s enterprise engaging key regional agencies and organisations, including local government, private and voluntary sectors • Creating a culture of enterprise for girls and women of all ages in partnership with education and the business sector • Increasing the number of sustainable women-led businesses operating with a proportionate impact on regional Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Gross Value Added (GVA) The release of NWWEF’s Women’s Enterprise Action Plan Summer 2008 - is designed to complement the Northwest Regional Enterprise Strategy and encourage local and regional partners to work together on women’s enterprise development. Overall, the plan aims to enable more women to take the first steps towards business ownership, and, to provide assistance to women already running enterprises and who have the capacity and desire to grow and expand, sharing their knowledge and experience along the way. It will promote and effectively integrate female enterprise within key activities such as business support, enterprise education and skills development - leading to better partnership working across public, private and voluntary sectors, including regional women’s business networks and associations. This will place the Northwest at the forefront of UK women’s enterprise development, and the NWDA and its partners are committed to ensuring that women across the region can access the support and advice they need to achieve business success.


Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

The National Picture on Women’s Enterprise National It is the role of the Women’s Enterprise Task Force to guide and influence the private and public sector on the Women’s Enterprise agenda. www.womensenterprisetaskforce.co.uk The Government’s Enterprise Strategy announced a number of measures including: • A £12.5 million Women’s Investment Fund – with the aim of securing a total £25million of investment through co-funding • Assisting women to finance their businesses in partnership with public and private sector including the British Bankers Association and high street banks • Women’s Business Centre Pilots and Use of Children’s Centres - working with RDAs these will enable women to access enterprise information and advice in a family-friendly environment following the US Women’s Business Centre model • More Mentoring - involving partner working with organisations such as The Royal Bank of Scotland, Prowess, Everywoman and the British Chambers of Commerce to champion a national mentoring network for women in business • Establishing a national Women’s Enterprise Centre of Expertise - based on the US experience to build an economic case for women’s enterprise • Media Campaign - ‘Spark an Idea” - co-ordinated by Enterprise Insight to raise awareness of women’s enterprise • WEConnect - Government backing for this private sector company, to ensure that women-owned businesses have equal access to corporate and public sector procurement opportunities. www.weconnect.org.uk

2008 Prospectus


Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

2008 Prospectus

Meet the Forum

Elaine Owen – Chair Elaine is MD of Wirral-based Designated Associates, established 14 years. She offers business support along Christian principles with social enterprise aims, including mentoring and coaching, around branding, IT & learning solutions. Profits, skills, spare time or capacity are ploughed back in to support the voluntary & community sectors and new companies - recently these have been predominantly female-led. Elaine is Director of Women In Business North West Ltd and of Egerton House, Birkenhead – an enterprise hub with affordable workspace for early company starters. She is keen to influence young people 14-19 years around the enterprise agenda. Elaine won the national Prowess Business Mentor of the Year award 2008.

Wendy Bowers - Vice Chair

established companies ranging from engineering firms to GP practices across Lancashire - taxation and accountancy to training in Sage, Quickbooks and TAS books. Wendy enjoys troubleshooting firms facing financial hardship. She is a Non Exec Director in several companies via Enterprise plc’s Rosebud funding scheme and the only female board member of Community and Business Partners Ltd, Blackburn, which forges links between local authority, schools, businesses and business advisors.

Claire Dove MBE DL Claire is Chief Executive of Blackburne House - one of Merseyside’s original and most successful social enterprises. She has led the organisation, since inception in the 80’s - including relocation and a £4m refurbishment. It houses and has trained thousands of women whose skills, knowledge and talent continue to add to local regeneration. Ranked in the top 10% of FE providers, the Adult Learning Inspectorate declared it ‘outstanding’ and it has achieved beacon status.

Wendy established Hilton Bowers Associates Ltd in 1997, following a 20 year career as financial director with a successful furniture-making business.

Claire is currently Deputy Chair of Greater Merseyside Learning and Skills Council, Board Member of the Mersey Partnership, Governor of the Corporation Board of Liverpool Community Council, Board member of Futurebuilders England.

HBA now provides wide advice to both start up and

She has been awarded Honorary Fellowship of Liverpool John Moores University, fellowship of the Royal Society of Arts and voted nationally, as an exemplary leader in Regeneration.


Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

2008 Prospectus

Meet the Forum

Ann Draper Ann is the regional co-ordinator for Women in Rural Enterprise (WIRE), an accredited Business Mentor and a NW Women’s Enterprise Ambassador. Ann is a Chartered Fellow of the Institute of Personnel and Development. Ann is Founder Director of Advantage Projects Ltd, a specialist renewable energy (R.E.) company which began three years ago. An independent company, it conducts energy audits, designs and project manages installation of all types of R.E. In 2007 Ann was short listed for Ethical Female Entrepreneur Award through Triodos Bank / Eve magazine. She is a school governor training to be an Anglican Lay Reader.

Hazel Duhy Hazel moved to Cumbria in May 2002. Joining the Rural Women’s Network (RWN – www.ruralwomen.org.uk), gave her the opportunity to learn a lot of new business skills and meet other Cumbrian businesswomen prior to setting up her own business, Web Work @ Woodrow in March 2006. Currently being rebranded as Woodrow Services, it offers administration and graphic design services to businesses around the UK and abroad. Woodrow Services has just been awarded Bronze status by the Cumbria Business Environment Network, which recognises a commitment to environmentally friendly ways of working. Hazel also compiles and circulates the Ripple Effect

newsletter, which e-mails information about business events and opportunities to over 2,000 businesses in Cumbria. This is currently a free service to support local trade and encourage business development. Hazel is passionate that women have the opportunity and the right support to set up their own businesses. In 2007 she was made a SPARK Women’s Enterprise Ambassador for the North West Regional Development Agency.

Donna Edwards Donna is Operations Director for Business Link Northwest. Providing information, diagnostic and brokerage services to 213,000 businesses across the region, covering both productivity and skills. She originally joined Business Link Rochdale in 1996 as Operations Director and went on to become Deputy Chief Executive and Operations Director for Business Link Greater Manchester until 2007. With a background in HR Management in a variety of manufacturing environments she has been involved in setting up spin off/start ups in the private sector and supporting individuals through a variety of commercial and funded-training programmes. Donna has a desire to help more individuals start a business, with support being delivered in the most customer-friendly manner to ensure long term survival and growth.


Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

2008 Prospectus

Meet the Forum

Philomena Evans

Joanna Hartley Jo is Founder & Managing Partner of Manchester-based Vision Creative & Communications.

Dawn Gibbins MBE

She is an award-winning journalist and former Television Executive with ITV Granada, recognised for devising strategic, engaging campaigns - including the £10m Cadbury & Coronation Street sponsorship deal which transformed the broadcast landscape. She led the UK’s largest multi-cultural festival linked with the 2002 Commonwealth Games - which is informing legacy planning for London 2012. Her clients are a mix of public, private and third sector.

After an early bohemian backpacking lifestyle, Dawn set up a company from home that has grown to be a world leader - based Sandbach - with offices in 30 countries and 12 manufacturing plants around the globe. Along the way she has won the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year Award and been voted Most Influential Person in British Manufacturing. Dawn has been recognised by HM The Queen as a Pioneer for the Life of Our Nation. The recent sale of her business, Flowcrete, gives Dawn the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong ambition to create a social enterprise that promotes, educates and supports the concept of Feng Shui and healthy environments.

Much of her focus recently has been about the positive potential of culture, the arts and the camera to catalyse community, social and economic cohesion/regeneration. Jo sits on UKTI’s International Sports and Leisure Infrastructure Advisory Group. Until recently she was also among a handful of women to chair a leading orchestra - Manchester Camerata. She remains a Trustee.


Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum

2008 Prospectus

Meet the Forum

Esther McVey Ester is Director of Making It (UK) Ltd, a marketing company and a Director of the family construction business, J G McVey & Co Ltd. In 2004/2005 Esther McVey was nominated for both Merseyside Woman of the Year and Cheshire Woman of the Year for her work with women in business through ’Winning Women’ as well as her work in politics. She is a prospective parliamentary candidate for the Conservative Party. Esther studied Law at University and is a former presenter with GMTV.

Yvonne Sampson Yvonne is Strategy Manager (Culture) in the Enterprise & Skills Directorate, NWDA. She started work with the Agency in May 2005 to champion the women’s enterprise agenda and soon widened her remit by becoming the Strategy Manager – People, in February 2006. In this new role she is now tasked with developing opportunities for Black, Minority and Ethnic communities (BME), Women, Disabled and the over 50’s.

In March 2008 Yvonne increased her work portfolio and now has responsibility to develop a regional approach to Enterprise Culture.

Fiona Stainer North West Universities Association (NWUA) is the representative body for the region’s 14 Higher Education Institutions (HEIs), whose aim is to foster collaboration between its member institutions and regional partners for the benefit of the North West. Fiona joined the NWUA in January 2007 as a Construction Specialist Advisor on the Higher Level Skills Partnership (HLSP) project Fiona also works across the wider skills and enterprise agendas. She serves as the North West HE sector representative on a number of regional groups including the Regional Skills & Enterprise Board (RSEB) Services to Employers Group, the Ethnic Minority Business Forum North West, as well as this Forum. Prior to working for NWUA, she was the North West Regional Coordinator for the Construction Industry Council. In addition, she has worked as a Business Advisor at the University of Manchester, working with small and medium sized enterprises to enable them to access the resources of the region’s HEIs.


Contact and opportunities

If you are interested in potential sponsorship opportunities surrounding the Awards and other aspects of the programme including the Women’s Enterprise Ambassadors please contact the Women’s Enterprise Development Manager By email: womeninenterprise@nwda.co.uk By post: Northwest Regional Development Agency PO Box 37 Renaissance House Centre Park, Warrington Cheshire WA1 1XB By phone: 01925 400100

Vision Creative & Communications Consultants

For details about the Northwest Regional Development Agency in relation to women’s enterprise visit www.nwda.co.uk/women


http://www.nwda.co.uk/pdf/NWWEF%20prospectus%202009-04%20update%201