UK gov backs female entrepreneurs with £50k cash injection

Incentive aims to boost the UK's startup ecosystem and aid gender equality at an executive level

A female-led meeting

The UK government is offering a £50,000 cash injection to 40 of the UK's top female entrepreneurs to help them scale up novel innovations and business ideas.

The announcement wasn't in last week's budget and has instead been saved for International Women's Day.

It also includes "bespoke" mentoring for each recipient, along with the £50,000 fee. This has been made available to 40 women from various parts of the UK, such as Joan D'Arcy, the founder of Plastic@Bay in Durness, Scotland and Samantha Bunyan, the co-founder of Cecence, in Salisbury, which is an aerospace decarbonisation startup. 

The aim is to boost the UK's startup ecosystem as it looks to encourage growth following the COVID pandemic, but it is also about aiding gender equality at an executive level.

"Today we are supporting 40 of our most trailblazing female entrepreneurs, helping them to turn their innovative ideas and aspirations into a reality, creating the products and services that will help improve our lives and boost our economy," said science minister, Amanda Solloway.

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The government's initiative was followed by an IBM report that suggested gender equality in the workplace was still not a top priority for 70% of global businesses. The study "Women, leadership, and missed opportunities" polled around 2,600 executives from various large companies, and shows that that gender equity may be at a crossroads, with the leadership pipeline for women shrinking. Fewer women surveyed hold senior vice president, vice president, director and manager roles in 2021 than they did in 2019.

Along with the government's financial support for female entrepreneurs, serial business founder, Sherry Coutu has also set out an initiative to help women in tech. The 'Digital Boost' platform aims to connect 500,000 women from female-led organisations with digital skills training. 200,000 will also be from black, Asian or ethnic minority backgrounds and they will have support from the likes of Google, Visa and BT. 

"We're proud to work alongside our valued partners to mentor at least one million people who work for small businesses and charities by 31st January 2022, of which 20% will identify themselves as BAME and 50% will identify themselves as female," said Coutu.

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