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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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Women Encouraged to Pursue Enterprise

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Women who are looking to become budding businesswomen are being encouraged to participate in a two-day online event that aims to help them take the all-important first step towards building a successful enterprise. The Women's Enterprise Online Event (http://www.womensenterprise.co.uk), to be held on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 June, is being run by the DTI and is aimed at motivating more women to consider enterprise as a viable prospect, by inspiring them with successful role models and by linking them up with women's support networks and business support organisations.


Announcing the event, Meg Munn, Deputy Minister for Women, said:


"This is a fantastic opportunity for prospective businesswomen to gain inspiration and insight from successful women role models and to make contact with essential support networks.


"Estimates show that if women in the UK were to set up businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an additional 150,000 new businesses a year, and this would significantly increase the £50 - £70 billion a year women-owned businesses already contribute to the economy.


"The UK continues to be one of the most entrepreunerial countries in the world. I've met a lot of women who run their own businesses both in my own constituency and at national events. Talking to them is always inspirational and I'm convinced that many more women have the skills to run businesses. I hope this event will be informative and inspire many more women to start their own business."


The online event will provide strong motivational content and include a number of 'Live Chat' sessions for participants to ask questions of women who have already taken the leap into starting and growing their own businesses. Along with access to inspirational women, there will be a resource centre with details of regional and national women's enterprise support organisations. These support networks and resources will help introduce women to like-minded women, boost levels of self confidence and intelligently sign-post women to relevant sources of specific support.


The event follows recent findings of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) 2004 which shows that seven per cent of women expected to start a business in the next three years, closing the gap between male (11.8%) and female entrepreneurs in the UK.

The GEM report also found women in the UK:

* believed there were good opportunities to start a business (35.9%)
* are more likely to be innovative than men
* are far more likely than men to move from unemployment to self-employment (the ratio is 1 in 5 for women and 1 in 15 for men)
* they are, on average, more qualified than men (24% of self-employed women have a degree compared with 18% of self-employed men)
* in rural areas are more entrepreneurial than those in urban and suburban areas


As part of the Government's commitment to significantly increase the proportions of newly self-employed people who are women, a Women's Enterprise Panel has also been formed to give expert advice on what more can be done to further promote women's enterprise development. It is expected to recommend the establishment of a national Women's Business Council to help the growing number of women-led businesses in the UK (15% in 2004).


The two-day event, which will run from 1000 until 1900 each day, is organised by the DTI in partnership with national and regional women's support and enterprise networks and organisations.


Access to the online event is easy and women are encouraged to register online at http://www.womensenterprise.co.uk. Women with no Internet access are encouraged to visit with a friend or neighbour who has internet access, visit a local Internet cafe or book an Internet session with their local library.


The GEM or Global Entrepreneurial Monitor report from the London Business School shows that almost half of women now believe they have the skills to start a business and that entrepreneurship is a good career choice. The report is available at http://www.gemconsortium.org


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