NatWest and Be the Business have teamed up to help women in business find access to mentors and sponsors
A free mentoring programme is being launched for female entrepreneurs in the South West and Yorkshire after research showed relatable role models and mentors were thin on the ground.
To coincide with National Mentoring Day, on October 27, NatWest and Be the Business have launched the project to provide greater access to sponsors and mentors, in response to findings that show female business owners are at a disadvantage.
The programme will match participants with an experienced business leader, and together they’ll collaborate over a 12-week period to help shape strategy and business plans, and work through business challenges together.
Women business owners are eligible if they already run their own business; and live or run that business in the West England Combined Authority area (Bath, North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire), or Leeds City Region area (Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield).
Eligible entrepreneurs simply register on the Be the Business platform and build an online profile. They are then able to select an appropriate mentor whose skillset and experience most matches their needs.
Alison Rose, chief executive, NatWest Group, said: “One of the most striking findings from the Rose Review was that women are less likely than men to know other entrepreneurs or to have access to sponsors, mentors, or professional supporter networks. For female entrepreneurs, and the UK economy to truly prosper, this balance must be reset.
“Today I’m delighted to launch this new initiative in partnership with Be the Business, which we hope will provide female entrepreneurs from Leeds and Bristol with the guidance and support to truly take their business to the next level, empowering the next generation of female leaders in the process.”
Anthony Impey, chief executive of Be the Business, said: “With many small businesses having just about weathered the storm of the pandemic, they now face the prospect of another period of massive uncertainty.
The next few months will be absolutely critical for entrepreneurs, and an experienced mentor to provide impartial advice and an external perspective could be the difference between success and failure. This programme will help female business owners overcome the big challenges ahead and grow their businesses.”
The announcement is the latest in a string of industry-sponsored initiatives that aim to address the principal issues identified from the Rose Review.
In August, the Council for Investing in Female Entrepreneurs announced its aim of getting 30% of investments to female founders and co-founders by 2030, in response to a key finding from the Rose Review which reported that only 1% of venture capital (VC) funding in the UK goes to female-led businesses.
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