June 19-23 sees the launch of National Women's Enterprise Week (NWEW), the first ever UK wide celebration of female led businesses.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Alison Cork MBE (also founder of not for profit Make It Your Business www.makeityourbusiness.co.uk), NWEW aims to support and encourage female enterprise with a whole week of activities for both the general public and female entrepreneurial community.
''Entrepreneurship is a life changing experience and one we must normalise in the UK, so that it is as natural to become a business owner as it is to become a doctor or dentist,” says Alison. “For women this also means levelling up the numbers, as currently only one in four businesses is female owned or led.
“Moreover, NWEW is focused on start-ups as opposed to scale-ups, because it is the thousands of 'acorns', as opposed to the few 'unicorns' which make the biggest difference to peoples' daily lives around the UK – the small business which may simply be a kitchen table concern, but which changes the life choices of its owner for the better.
"NWEW will also see the launch of our first Enterprise Incubator, Women's Launch Lab, offering 12 all expenses paid places on our London bootcamp (June 20-22) for female led early-stage start-ups - a once in a lifetime opportunity to take part in an immersive incubator programme. Our powerhouse of female judges, speakers and mentors include Akshata Murthy, businesswoman and investor, Sara Davies MBE, Founder Crafters Companion and Dragons Den judge, Isabel Oswell, Head of Business Audiences, British Library Business IP Centre, Alison Hall, CEO of fashion brand Sosandar and Mariam Jimoh, Founder and CEO of Oja, to name but a few who will be choosing and mentoring our 12 lucky winners of these free places.
"This three day incubator will be intense. During the day our start-ups will hear and learn from innovative female entrepreneurs, growth and marketing strategists and financial experts.
“They will be trained to deliver their best pitch to secure investment. In the evenings they will attend networking events and receptions at the British Library and House of Lords. The programme will culminate with them pitching their idea to a panel of seasoned VCs and investors".
For anyone who wants to get involved with NWEW 2023 - there are several ways in which you can:
Enter the Women's Launch Lab incubator competition – the final date of entry is 15th May. Apply here: www.makeityourbusiness.co.uk/womens-launch-lab
Take the first steps to start your own business if that's been on your 'to do' list for a while. Look up your local Business and IP Centre visit www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre for free information and advice – there are 21 major hubs already round the UK, and 90 satellite centres.
Organise your own local networking event or create an activity to celebrate NWEW. Start making those vital connections with other women already running their own business and those who need advice to get going. Download our branded graphics to use on social media or posters here www.makeityourbusiness.co.uk
Support other local female entrepreneurs by sharing their business on your socials or buying products and services from them during NWEW (and beyond of course!) – share a pic of your purchases on your socials and tag #NWEW
So, join us and join in! National Women's Enterprise Week is for everyone – because Britain will only fulfil its true potential when women fulfil theirs.