A study by the Federation of Small Business found that just 20 per cent of small businesses in the UK are run by women – a figure that clearly indicates something needs to be done.
We’re proud, however, that the rate is higher within the Virgin StartUp scheme – 40 per cent of funded entrepreneurs here are women. But there’s still a way to go before we achieve gender parity in the start-up world and reap the benefits, with RBS estimating that boosting female entrepreneurship could add an amazing £60 billion extra to the economy.
Richard Branson 1000 loans for UK start-ups
To celebrate International Women’s Day, Virgin StartUp have been celebrating their supported female founders – the #VSU40percent. On Instagram they’ve been sharing photos of the entrepreneurs, giving a glimpse into the range and creativity of the businesses.
Jada Sezer, who received a Virgin StartUp loan to launch her clothing brand, SEZER, says “It's incredible that 40 per cent of entrepreneurs funded by Virgin are female. Becoming an entrepreneur myself definitely increased my confidence. There's a resonating feeling that women are becoming more & more fearless. The empathic, interpersonal skills we hold add value, in fact are vital in a work environment.”
Virgin Red are also supporting female founders by highlighting the products of Secret Pillow Project, another Virgin StartUp-supported business, which works directly with women in India to create beautiful pillows that unfold into quilt – providing the women with training and a route to financial independence.
As two other Virgin StartUp entrepreneurs put it - Fleurette Mulcahy and Alice Holden of Attollo, a brand new lingerie brand creating underwear for D+ cup sizes that doesn’t compromise on fit or style – “You don’t sign up to being self employed for an easy, stress-free lifestyle. We signed up because we had a solution for a problem that we were passionate about and were lucky enough to have an initial belief in the ability for this business to succeed despite many obstacles.
As a female-founded business, and a business designing for a female (end consumer) customer base our world revolves around women. Being inspired by women, working with women, and working to help make women feel confident and beautiful through lingerie.”
Here’s to supporting more female entrepreneurs, giving them the resources to succeed, and changing the world in the process.
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