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Females: Small Businesses

Volume 462: debated on Wednesday 4 July 2007

To ask the Minister for Women what work is undertaken by the taskforce on women's enterprise; and what progress has been made towards the recruitment of a national network of 1,000 female entrepreneur ambassadors. (147150)

I have been asked to reply.

If we matched US levels of entrepreneurship there would be 700,000 more businesses run by women in the UK. To help accelerate the UK towards the US levels of entrepreneurship, the Government established the taskforce on Women's Enterprise to advise it on specific steps to increase levels of women's business ownership in the UK. Under the co-chairmanship of Pam Alexander (CEO, SEED A) and Glenda Stone (CEO, Aurora), the taskforce is providing leadership on women's enterprise across Government and the regions, by recommending specific steps to increase women’s business ownership. It is working with the Regional Development Agencies to ensure that women have access to the high-quality support and advice they require to start and grow their businesses.

Working alongside the taskforce is the Women's Enterprise Ambassadors' Network (WEAN). This network comprises inspirational women entrepreneurs, who are using their knowledge and experience to inspire more women to consider the option of starting a business. To celebrate the recruitment of the 1000th ambassador the first WEAN National conference, hosted by my right hon. Friend the Member for Barking (Margaret Hodge), the then Minister for Industry and the Regions, took place at Lancaster House on Monday 25 June 2007. The conference was attended by 200 ambassadors from around the country.