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Business: Females

Volume 477: debated on Thursday 12 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform when he expects to launch the women’s enterprise campaign; and what recent assessment he has made of trends in women’s enterprise activity. (204293)

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.

Discussions and market research are already under way with the aim of launching a Women’s Enterprise Media Campaign “Spark an Idea” in September 2008. The campaign will be co-ordinated by Enterprise Insight, who are funded by my Department and which brings together an enterprise coalition of 25 national organisations from education, the voluntary sector, business and government. The campaign will specifically look to develop the awareness and potential of women who are under-represented in enterprise currently.

The campaign is an integral part of a strong package of measures on women’s enterprise announced recently in 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