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Women in Enterprise

Volume 706: debated on Wednesday 12 January 2022

The Government continue to support women in enterprise by implementing the recommendations of the Rose review. Our start-up loans company has advanced more than 35,000 loans to women since 2012, worth nearly £300 million, and that represents 40% of all loans.

My constituent Kerry Mackay from the Ceiriog valley has overcome hardship and just been named one of the top 100 most inspirational and dynamic female entrepreneurs in the UK for her business ScrubbiesUK, which makes environmentally friendly cleaning pads. Will the Minister congratulate Kerry and look at ways to raise awareness of the business mentoring and training schemes that were pivotal to her success and that of her business?

Kerry Mackay is inspirational and I congratulate her and all her colleagues at ScrubbiesUK. She is an exemplar for small businesses, leading the way to help the UK tackle plastic pollution and reach our climate goals. I am glad to hear that she benefited from Government mentoring support, and I will ask the relevant Business Minister to write to my hon. Friend with more details. In the meantime, I hope that people like Kerry Mackay will raise awareness of this opportunity through their own networks, which is often the most effective way to spread the word.

Covid particularly impacts on women in business, and the sectors in which they are predominant need to be protected by the Government. What more can we do?

My hon. Friend makes an important point. Some of the sectors most impacted by covid, such as the arts and hospitality, include a high proportion of women-led businesses. She will be aware of the targeted measures to help these sectors that were announced just last month by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor, including one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises for the hospitality sector and £30 million through the culture recovery fund. That support will help female entrepreneurs to keep trading through the current difficulties and make the most of future opportunities as they look forward to the end of the pandemic.