Theresa May: There's no business like show(ing) business

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Thousands of successful women have joined the drive to kick-start growth by stepping forward to mentor other women wanting to succeed in business, the Home Secretary has announced.

Inspirational mentoring champions include Specsavers founder Dame Mary Perkins and Dawn Russell, who survived cancer and now runs her own foundation aimed at boosting self-worth in young women. Other high-profile ambassadors promoting mentoring include Hallett Retail founder Wendy Hallett and digital business entrepreneur Penny Power.

The mentors will provide a minimum of one hour free business mentoring a month to an owner of a micro, small, or medium-sized business over the next two years.

Home Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities, Theresa May said:

Women are vital to Britain's economic future and the support of a mentor will help even more of them fulfil their true potential.The government is working hard to help women make the most of their talents, but we cannot act alone. I'm delighted by these mentors' commitment to helping budding businesswomen succeed - and to making Britain prosper.

If women started businesses at the same rate as men there would be an additional 150,000 start-ups a year, and if female entrepreneurship reached the same levels as the US it would contribute an extra £42 billion to the economy.

The recruitment of 5000 female mentors is one amongst a host of initiatives to provide additional support for women in business. Another important initiative aims at tackling the under-representation of women at board level and more than 50 company chairmen have joined the drive. The influential bosses announced they are backing the 30% Club campaign for diversity in the same week that the number of women on FTSE 100 boards climbed to 16.7%.

As the number of women out of work stands at a 25-year high, the importance of these initiatives and of women having the support and opportunity to fully engage in business is not only vital for the female businesswomen, but for our whole economy.

Francine Fernandes

Archived Comments

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Good to see women playing

Good to see women playing such important roles as economic champions and also being recognised for it.

There’s show business, there’s slow business and then there’s no

Whilst this looks like a great initiative, I can’t help to feel a little cynical about it.

With such high levels of unemployment generally and particularly amongst women, even with the mentoring, how can the tide of unemployment be stemmed when there are such severe cuts in the public sector? Many of those affected are intelligent, motivated women who could open businesses, but in an economy which has been so bruised and battered, it seems like a sticking plaster approach to a severed artery. For those with existing businesses, training and support is always a good thing, but the bottom line is that potential customers just don’t have as much cash as they once did therefore small businesses have an even high propensity to fail.

There’s no business like a slow business!

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