New Anglia LEP urges region’s women to log on and start businesses
Fresh funding has been secured to help inspire more women to start an online business and access new sales markets.
Spearheaded by New Anglia Enterprise Partnership, the £41,300 cash pot will be used to set up a six-month programme with the aim of helping more than 100 businesswomen learn how to kick-start a digital company.
The organisation identified the need for funding after evidence showed that the cost setting up a business was a major barrier to women.
It is estimated that only 7pc of women are self-employed in Norfolk and Suffolk compared to 14pc of men, according to research conducted by the University of East Anglia on behalf of the New Anglia LEP.
Nicky Morgan, minister for Women and Equalities, said: 'This fund will give women the practical help needed to get their businesses on-line and take advantage of superfast broadband. This will include online mentors, business clubs and training courses so that women all over the country can benefit.'
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Identifying this skills gap, New Anglia LEP has launched an Economic Equality initiative aimed at addressing the lack of women in the workforce and how it is impeding growth across Norfolk and Suffolk.
Together with Suffolk and Norfolk County Councils, New Anglia bid for specific government money from the Women and Broadband Challenge Fund.
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Between October 2014 and March 2015 the funding will provide; Broadband for business introductory sessions, to help increase awareness of the potential to start, enhance or grow a business online; digital business training sessions, explaining how to set up a website, sell products and raise and improve online profile; and one to one digital mentoring sessions with internet-savvy professionals
Workshops will begin at the end of October and be held in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Norwich, King's Lynn and Thetford.
They will be coordinated by Norfolk and Suffolk Chambers of Commerce and training expertise will be provided by Green Shoots Learning based near Ipswich.
Davina Tanner, chief executive of Britannia Enterprises, LEP board member and lead on the Economic Equality, said: 'Research regularly shows that our region is missing out on the expertise and economic benefit of having more women at the fore-front of business. Being digitally savvy is an important part of developing your profile and these workshops will give women additional confidence and know-how on how to make the most of online resources.'
The funding is only available to areas in the Government's Superfast Broadband programmes and builds on the work the two counties and the LEP are already doing to bring Superfast Broadband to the region and raise awareness of its business benefits.
• For more information on the digital workshops please contact Amanda Ankin at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce - firstname.lastname@example.org