WOMEN: YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU SAYS NEW SOCIAL ENTERPRISE

16 November 2011

The UK is missing out on economic benefits through a lack of women in business warns new social enterprise company EVEnet.

The UK is missing out on economic benefits through a lack of women in business warns new social enterprise company EVEnet. “Now is the time for women to become their own agents of change and take a greater role in business”, said Joanne Rogers founder of a new social enterprise company established to champion women in business.  “Business is never going to get the makeover it needs, unless as women, we choose to get involved and drive change from within.”

EVEnet was launched at an event, supported by Lloyds Banking Group, at the Houses of Parliament on Monday 14th November 2011 to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week.  As a social enterprise, it will seek to help women start-up businesses.  Women’s enterprise was estimated to have contributed more than £130 billion to the UK economy in 2009, despite the fact that only around 17% of companies are led by women.  It is widely believed that a significant increase in the level of female entrepreneurship will contribute to the economic recovery.

EVEnet will also seek to encourage more women to apply for corporate and public sector board positions by offering workshops and advice for those seeking to develop their leadership skills and gain greater confidence in the boardroom. Joanne Rogers says:  “Business has a crucial role to play in building a stronger society and there is growing recognition that companies need to focus more on operating in an ethical manner. I believe that more women in the boardroom will lead to better decision-making - and this may well modify some of the excessive corporate behaviour which has exacerbated current economic difficulties and caused public distrust of industry leaders.”

Andy Lee, Area Director of Lloyds Banking Group said at the launch: “The Lloyds Banking Group wants to be the best bank for customers and for business. We know that there are over 1 million self-employed women and they are contributing strongly to the economy.  Our aim is to welcome, encourage and have the literacy to identify and build relationships in all the areas of opportunity available to us. Our SME Charter promises to provide access to finance, fair and transparent pricing and to encourage enterprise wherever we find it.  The truth is that business will be strengthened as increasing numbers of women start up their own firms or take on senior corporate roles. Helping people start in business, identify procurement and export opportunities, and invest by providing the funding, is good business for us and builds our deep customer relationships for the future.”  
 
An online resource hub will be at the heart of the new EVEnet venture, providing business advice, motivation and information for women.   There will also be inspirational case studies of ordinary women who are already running companies or participating on boards to encourage others to make the move. 

“Whilst being a business leader certainly isn’t for everyone, we want to demonstrate that many women have hidden talents which are transferable to business.  Maybe they haven’t had the confidence or, at times, the opportunity.  Now is not the time to dwell on why we are where we are now,” Joanne says.  “It’s time to take positive action and take a seat at the table.”
    
However, she is worried that local government cuts will undermine the progress made prior to the recession.  “I hope that we can find the right funding for EVEnet to help plug the gap of support for women in business left by the abolition of the RDA and Business Link Regional Networks, whilst offering a solution that embraces the Government’s Big Society ethos.

Our aim is to help transform the lives of individual women, their families and local communities by supporting those women considering self employment or career progression to board level.  This will then benefit our country through a greater contribution by women to the economy.

If you would like to register with EVEnet, please contact Joanne Rogers on 01372 363385 or by email at joanne@prowse.co.uk. Alternatively, visit EVEnet.org.uk.

 
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