Monday, April 15, 2024

NTU launches programme to support female entrepreneurs

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has launched ‘Female Founders Club’ (FFC) – a fully funded programme to support female business founders across Nottinghamshire and the Midlands.

Run by NTU Enterprise, the FFC is free to join, thanks to Funding from a NatWest Regional Partner Grant, which will fund the programme for a year to include monthly events and workshops to help female founders evolve their existing businesses or help them launch new ones.FFC members will meet in NTU’s Dryden Enterprise Centre (DEC), giving them the opportunity to network with the DEC’s business community alongside creating a peer mentoring group of their own.

Alexandra Perry, owner of Nottingham-based brand H.E.R Bodywear, which creates self-esteem boosting lingerie for women who have been affected by breast cancer, said: “I joined the Female Founder Club to feel supported and inspired by a group of like-minded entrepreneurs. I wanted to grow my network, find new opportunities, and feel part of an empowering business community.”NTU Enterprise can connect female founders with other programmes of funded business support available from NTU including innovation grants, investment readiness support and programmes tailored to creative and digital businesses and social enterprises.

The FFC has members from a range of different businesses including interior design, marketing, website design, sustainable goods, clothing, therapy services and creative agencies.Hannah Edwards, owner of Nottingham-based digital marketing agency HeyYou! Digital, said: “My business has recently moved to the Dryden Enterprise Centre and I previously was part of its Breakthrough programme which is the best business training I’ve had to date.

“I joined the Female Founders Club because I work on my own and wanted that sense of community. A place where I can bounce ideas off other members, as well as a dedicated space to think about my business and hear about how other members approach their own.”The FFC at NTU has already attracted 45 signed up members since launching earlier this month.

Diana Pasek-Atkinson, Enterprise Adviser Manager at NTU’s Dryden Enterprise Centre, said:“Supporting women in business is very close to my heart, when I graduated from NTU and set up my own creative business in 1990, there was no specific support to help me navigate my way through what felt like an alien and very male business world. “We set up the Female Founders Club to offer women the skills, knowledge, and network they need to be seen and heard as their authentic selves in business. We want to enable female founders to create a successful business on their terms, whether they are just starting out with a fresh idea or looking to elevate their existing business.”

The Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship – published in 2019, explored the barriers faced by female entrepreneurs. The research highlighted that women are less likely than men to know other entrepreneurs or to have access to sponsors, mentors or professional support networks.

Any interested existing or aspiring entrepreneurs can find out more at the next event on 27 March, which features guest speaker Barbara Armstrong OBE, as well as a networking lunch and a workshop with the award winning My Business My Way toolkit team.

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