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Business: Females

Volume 475: debated on Wednesday 7 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform how much funding his Department is providing to support women’s enterprise in 2008-09; and if he will make a statement. (203666)

The Government are determined that we maximise the untapped economic dividend for the UK from increasing female entrepreneurship rates. The US has 20 per cent. more businesses per head than the UK. A significant proportion of this gap is explained by much lower rates of women’s entrepreneurial activity in the UK. This goes to the heart of the UK’s productivity and competitiveness.

This Department’s funding for the delivery of support services for women’s and other enterprises, is channelled through the Regional Development Agencies, via the Single Programme Budget, to enable them to achieve their regional priorities identified in their strategies, including supporting the development and growth of women’s enterprise.

The RDAs are our key partners in promoting enterprise and we are working with them in implementing the measures on women’s enterprise announced as part of the Government’s Enterprise Strategy. Those measures include provision for: £12.5 million of Government capital through a women’s investment fund; women’s business centre pilots; enhanced mentoring support; a new national enterprise centre of expertise; and activity aimed at opening up procurement opportunities to women-owned businesses. More information on the Strategy is available at:

www.berr.gov.uk/enterprisestrategy