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Business supportFemale entrepreneurs join NatWest and Fund Her North in masterclass aimed at...

Female entrepreneurs join NatWest and Fund Her North in masterclass aimed at boosting the impact of women-owned business

Female entrepreneurs and business owners gathered in Manchester this week to learn how to source funding to grow their businesses and explore the contribution women-owned businesses can bring to the economy.

The full-day finance masterclass, hosted by Fund Her North and NatWest, focused on how female entrepreneurs can source the right kind of funding for their businesses at the right time and also offered insight on how to successfully pitch to potential funders, as well as sell and exit a business.

The event was inspired by NatWest’s Rose Review, first published in 2019, which highlighted that £250bn could be added to the UK economy if women in the UK matched men in starting and scaling businesses. The most recent Rose Review progress report in 2022 demonstrated the progress achieved to date and revealed that more women than ever are starting new businesses, with 140,000 all-female founded companies created in the previous year.

However, access to and awareness of funding remains one of the biggest barriers for women entrepreneurs, with women-owned businesses securing less than 5% of available venture capital funding, according to the British Business Bank’s Small Business Equity Tracker.

Business owners at the event heard from local entrepreneurs who have sourced funding and turned their idea into a successful business. One speaker was Grace Vella, founder and CEO of Miss Kick, which specialises in football sportwear for women and girls.

Grace, a former footballer, founded Miss Kick in 2017 after realising women and girls with an interest in football had little choice of sportswear to suit their needs. She had support to build her business through the NatWest Accelerator free business building programme.

Grace said: “Football has always been my passion and I realised that there was a gap for sportswear for women footballers but also a need for more representation of women and girls in football overall.

“My business started out, like so many new businesses, around the kitchen table. I then joined the NatWest Accelerator programme and things really took off from there. I’m so grateful to now be in a position where I can offer other female entrepreneurs advice on how to get their businesses off the ground and find the funding they need to grow.”

Fund Her North, which organised the event, was set up in 2020 to improve access to funding for female-led businesses in the North of England, with an ambition to that at least 30% of all UK investing funding to go to female founders by 2030.

Jordan Dargue, Founder of Fund Her North, said: “This event was the first Fund Her North in person entrepreneur masterclass for female business owners and the inspiration and energy in the room was fantastic.

“When Fund Her North was set up in 2020, we knew that by collaborating with great people and companies like NatWest we could achieve great results and start to make a difference, enabling more women in the North to be supported when it comes to accessing funding.

“We’ve been so impressed with the speed and impact Fund Her North has had on the female business community and the amount of high-calibre female entrepreneurs who are operating and growing their businesses here in the North. The excitement at being able to make a collective difference in supporting female entrepreneurs is palpable and we are excited at what the future holds.”

Alison Rose, CEO of NatWest Group, said: “Since the Rose Review was published in 2019, a series of initiatives have been created to address the barriers to female entrepreneurship, including Fund Her North. Not only has this expanded access to funding, it has demystified the funding process, developed networks of female founders and investors and importantly – supported more women to start their own business.

“The Rose Review found that £250bn could be added to the UK economy if women in the UK matched men in starting and scaling businesses. Today’s event was a fantastic opportunity to help realise that opportunity, and to bring female entrepreneurs together to learn practical advice on how they can successfully access funding to take their business to the next level.”

Sam Allcock
Sam Allcock
With over 20 years of experience in the field SEO and digital marketing, Sam Allcock is a highly regarded entrepreneur. He is based in Cheshire but has an interest in all things going on in the North West and enjoys contributing local news to the site.
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