With research indicating that a boost to female entrepreneurship in the UK could bring £60bn extra to the economy, Hatch Enterprise and Enterprise Enfield have launched an initiative to fuel entrepreneurial ambition among women.
Developed with JP Morgan, the Female Founders Programme (FFP) will support 60 London-based female entrepreneurs, with the first intake of candidates announced on 1 March.
The scheme will address issues such as access to finance, which many women perceive access as a significant barrier when starting a business.
According to the Women’s Business Council, women also struggle with a lack of confidence in their business skills, while others feel there aren’t enough diverse female role models to inspire them or show them it is possible to become an entrepreneur.
Hatch Enterprise will run a Female Founders Lab for South London based entrepreneurs with businesses turning over less than £40,000, and an accelerator programme for businesses with more than £40,000 turnover.
Meanwhile, Enterprise Enfield will deliver the Female Founders Accelerator Programme for entrepreneurs in East and North London, running businesses with at least £20,000 turnover.
Over a four-month period, Hatch Enterprise and Enterprise Enfield will run several courses, including workshops, seminars, meet ups and coaching sessions with a range of experts and mentors from various organisations including J.P. Morgan, to support female entrepreneurs at different stages in their business.
The initiative forms part of JP Morgan’s small business development goals to “support SME growth and job creation in underprivileged areas through business training.
Statistics show that women in the USA are twice as likely to be entrepreneurially active as women in the UK, and the UK would gain three-quarters of a million more businesses if it could achieve the same levels of female entrepreneurship as the US.
Furthermore, research shows that women starting up in business will tend to provide a more immediate contribution to the economy, female-owned enterprises have a higher churn rate and are likely to attribute closure to ‘personal reasons’ rather than ‘business failure’, according to RBS, Women in Enterprise: A Different Perspective.
Hang Ho, head of EMEA global philanthropy for JP Morgan said: “UK small businesses face many challenges in their journey to becoming sustainable and profitable as they struggle to access the talent, finance and support to thrive.
“These difficulties are exacerbated by the current economic context particularly in low-income areas, where women-lead small businesses face the toughest challenges. We want to help provide this much-needed support as when small businesses succeed, our communities and neighbourhoods succeed too.”
Entrepreneurs taking part in the FFP can expect to achieve a 10 per cent increase in turnover after one year. The target is for at least 50 per cent of FFP entrepreneurs to have secure investments after one year, and 70 per cent to still be in business after three years.
Dirk Bischof, CEO, Hatch Enterprise said: “We continue to support women in turning their passions into sustainable businesses. With a unique approach to enterprise incubation since 2013, we’re excited to be super-charging London’s female founders and helping them grow their organisations.”
Despina Johnson, Chief Executive, Enterprise Enfield said: “With more than eight years’ experience delivering accelerator programmes for female entrepreneurs as they start, establish and grow successful businesses in North and East London, we can’t wait to support and inspire women on the Female Founders Programme.”
Find out more about the programme here.