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GORDON HENDERSON MP

FOR SITTINGBOURNE & SHEPPEY

MP backs Government plans to back female entrepreneurs

22nd November 2011
MP backs Government plans to back female entrepreneurs

Gordon Henderson MP has welcomed the Government’s plans to support women’s enterprise.

On Friday 4th November 2011 the Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May, announced that funding will be provided for 5,000 mentors to support new and existing female entrepreneurs. Currently women are only half as likely as men to become entrepreneurs. Specifically trained mentors will be able to address particular concerns of female entrepreneurs such as access to finance, building confidence, achieving a work life balance and working from home.

In a speech on Women and the Economy, Theresa May said:

• ‘if we fully used the skills and qualifications of women who are currently out of work, it could deliver economic benefits of fifteen to twenty one billion pounds per year. That’s more than double the value of all our annual exports to China’
• ‘If women started businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an additional 150,000 extra start-ups each year in the UK’.
• ‘And if the UK had the same level of female entrepreneurship as the US, there would be approximately 600,000 extra women-owned businesses, contributing an extra £42 billion to the economy’.

Alongside the mentors for entrepreneurs, the Government is taking other important action to back women in work:

• establishing a Women’s Business Council to provide advice to Government on action to maximise women’s contribution to economic growth.
• extending flexible working to all employees and allowing mothers and father to choose how they want to share parental leave after having a baby.
• protecting the lowest paid public sector workers, 78 per cent of whom are women, from the pay freeze.
• lifting more than a million of the lowest paid workers out of income tax altogether, more than half of whom are women.

The Swale Women Empowering Women Project, which officially launched yesterday (21st), is a local charity encouraging entrepreneurship amongst women in Sittingbourne and Sheppey. Christine Locke, Chief Executive Officer of the project said:

“Supporting women enterprise is absolutely crucial to improve the local economy and the lives of women and their community. Currently, only 4% of Swale women aged 16 to 74 are self-employed.

“SWEW will address some of the issues by helping women explore and develop their business ideas as well as giving them skills, confidence, encouragement and support to pursue their business ambitions and goals. We would like the whole community to engage and support this project so that, together, we can make a real difference to our community.”

Mr Henderson commented:

“Unleashing women’s entrepreneurial abilities could add billions of pounds to our economy every year.

“We just can’t afford to overlook the talents, skills and experience of women across Sittingbourne and Sheppey any longer – that’s why it’s important that the Government takes action like this.”

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