‘Enterprise Nation and Facebook partnered to up-skill 10,000 women in business by end of Jan 2018,’ explains Raissa Unweza, a Club host who is heading up Women in Business, the Workspace initiative aiming to encourage female entrepreneurship.
‘The partnership aims to deliver a programme of online and offline events and training that could unlock an estimated £45m for the UK by the end of the year.’
Figures back up the proposed benefits. According to research by the Federation of Small Businesses, 150,000 extra businesses would be created every year, in England alone, if women set up businesses at the same rate as men.
While, if the UK had as much female entrepreneurship as the USA, £23 billion gross value would be added to the economy.
So, the case for encouraging female entrepreneurship is clear. There has already been an increase of about 40% of women in self-employment from Nov – March 2008 to Nov to Jan 2016. But more needs to be done.
Workspace is playing its part. Over the past 10 months, the co-working network has held more than seven events specifically aimed at addressing the journeys and challenges of women in business. ‘Over 200 women have attended our events,’ Raissa says.
She explains that although the Workspace community has traditionally been skewed towards men, she has noticed change. ‘With time, the events, roundtable discussions and business networks I am part of are becoming more and more diverse.‘
‘I am always excited to welcome more female entrepreneurs into the Workspace network,’ she says. One new Club member has caught her eye: Impact Squared work with social causes to elevate their message, motivate individuals to act and evaluate their impact. They’ve worked for Lean In, the United Nations Foundation and the International Crisis Group and have been featured in the Huffington Post, Harvard Business Review and the London Business Review.
‘They are led by their founder and CEO Noa Gafni Slaney,’ says Raissa. ‘Impact Squared are definitely doing amazing things and can be found in our Club Workspace Chancery Lane when they are not travelling around the world on projects for their clients.’
The Women In Business initiative in some ways is preaching to the converted. 44% of women want to turn their passion into a career by setting up a business; 52% of women want to work on their own terms by setting up a business.
And the barriers holding them back can be easily surmounted: 38% of women are held back from setting up their business by access to finance, 34% have concerns over financial security, 25% suffer from lack of confidence. 41% of women said practical support such as digital skills workshops would be helpful when starting up their own enterprise.
So that’s where Workspace comes in - for example, Natasha Courtenay Smith recently instructed attendees on how to become successful through blogging at the last Workspace event - and there's much more to be learnt!
We are constantly making connections with likeminded groups and individuals who have a passion to help others grow. If you have an idea, do not hesitate to get in touch. Idea plus relationship equals powerful actions. Make contact via email firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on LinkedIn to Raissa A Uwineza.