#FQ3 Forum Discusses The Growth of UK Women Owned Businesses

By: Pink Shoe
 
WESTMINSTER, U.K. - Nov. 21, 2016 - PRLog -- Pink Shoe, together with the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), recently organised the third International Female Quotient Forum (#FQ3) at The Shard in London. The event provided the ideal forum to advance the discussion for opportunities for women-owned businesses (WBs) in a complex and post-Brexit economy with representatives from the City, corporate, public sector and professional industries.

The conversations focused on how to harness female talent to drive economic growth, reinforcing Prime Minister Theresa May's vision on the contribution of WBs in the UK today. Facts such as "only 20% of SMEs are WBs" from a UK population where "51% is female" set the scene for the forum agenda.

Helene Martin Gee, Founder and President of Pink Shoe, introduced Caroline Dinenge, the Minister for Women and Equalities, who opened the forum with a keynote speech that emphasized the importance of opportunities and support. She talked about the challenges faced by female entrepreneurs and WBs, and the fact that there are now more women-led businesses than ever before.  She said that WBs currently inject around £115 billion to the UK economy. Furthermore, Britain has been ranked as the best place in Europe for female entrepreneurs.

Having set the direction, the programme continued with an update on the UK Economic Blueprint (EB) by Jill Pay, Chairman of Pink Shoe Senate. Professor Stephen Roper from ERC spoke next, saying that they warmly welcomed the initiative and endorsed their ongoing strong support for the UK EB. His speech was followed by presentations, international case studies and panel discussions on opportunities arising from beyond the UK, including the Commonwealth, and the importance of the global export market, especially in the light of a post-Brexit economy. Panel speakers included Lord Jonathan Marland, Jennifer Bisceglie and Joanna Santinon, with chair Maggie Semple OBE, and Deb Leary OBE, Christine Hamilton and Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne with Chair Melanie Eusebe.

Helen Walbey, Federation of Small Business (FSB) UK-wide Diversity Chair highlighted findings from their recent report on women and enterprise, noting that most of the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and SME business owners - such as cash flow and access to finance - were similar. WBs also experienced additional issues which were gender-specific. These included balancing work and family life (40%), achieving credibility for the business (37%) and a lack of confidence (22%).

This same national snapshot was confirmed by Dr Karen Bonner from ERC. Insights from national statistics indicate that the UK female rate of early-stage entrepreneurship is around half the male rate. In addition, entrepreneurs' growth ambition is strongly linked to subsequent performance.

The closing remarks were given by Craig Tracey MP, Chairman of All Party Parliamentary Group on Women and Enterprise,  who said that the findings and trends, including the case studies and various panel discussions were very significant and were sending a strong message to government about the importance of WBs. He told the audience present , "It was a privilege to be asked to speak at this event and to support the promotion of better gender equality for women in enterprise."

This third forum was a milestone in a 5-year programme that will see the development of the first-ever UK Economic Blueprint for WBs. It followed on from last year's #FQ2 forum which marked the launch of the Economic Blueprint and the Ten Point Plan underpinning its delivery. Since then, Team EB has defined the vision, mission and scope of the overall programme, as well as the individual plans which will bring this innovative and unique platform to fruition.

As Jill Pay explained, "#FQ3 is an important milestone in our overall strategy and plans. We are now in Day One of Year Two. We are breaking down barriers and opening up opportunities for WBs using advocacy and influence to seek policy and economic solutions to improve opportunities for WBs while developing technological and collaborative platforms to underpin the EB.  The EB digital platform will be an independent, inclusive, first port of call for advice, information, support, training, mentors, case studies and innovative tools that will help women to start and scale up their businesses. Over the next year we will seek sponsorship in three areas: the design, creation and development of the EB digital platform,  a programme of road shows to take the EB around the UK and a programme manager to ensure progress and quality outcomes. "

Helene Martin Gee concluded, "Today, the UK Economic Blueprint is more than just a concept. In the last year, we have defined and developed the project framework that will deliver the Economic Blueprint and digital platform and the seven work streams are all engaged in developing plans to bring it to fruition. Following #FQ3, we are stepping up the momentum."

Helene continued, "The Blueprint has strong support from Ministers, MPs and Peers and via the All Party Parliamentary Group for Women and Enterprise and other leading All Party groups. We are also forming strong partnerships with corporates, business owners and national organisations to reach the largest possible number of WBs. Today we read out comments from Lady Barbara Judge CBE, Chairman of the Institute of Directors, who said that it is vital that women's voices are heard right across business. Lady Judge added that the work we are doing on the first UK EB for Women will help to support and encourage more women into business and entrepreneurship, and that can only be a good thing for the whole economy. As we have said since the beginning of our journey, we will continue to use advocacy and influence to seek policy and economic solutions to improve opportunities for WBs, and with the assistance of our international and UK partners and supporters, we are confident that we can achieve our goals."

http://www.pinkshoeclub.com/
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Email:***@pinkshoeclub.com
Tags:Women-owned Businesses, Access To Markets, Finance
Industry:Business
Location:Westminster - London, Greater - England
Subject:Projects
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