Tracey Welcomes Women and Broadband Challenge Fund 2015

The Government has announced that the women and broadband programme for women entrepreneurs will be extended to support more women to take their business online and take advantage of superfast broadband through a further £1.1 million Investment. The funding is being made available to provide a programme to help women take advantage of superfast broadband to either start a business or work from home. This is in addition to the £1.1m the Government has already invested.

The Superfast broadband programme provides an opportunity for women-led businesses and potential female entrepreneurs to take advantage of faster broadband to expand or set up new businesses.

The Government is investing more than £1 billion in better broadband and mobile infrastructure across the UK. Better broadband and mobile connectivity is delivering real benefits for jobs and growth and quality of life.

In 2014, the Minister for Women announced a £1m challenge fund to help women grow their business online. The fund was established to help female entrepreneurs and women returners to the workforce whose digital skills are out of date.

In the first phase of the programme:

o   Over 2,500 women attended events across the 16 projects with over 900 women-led businesses taking part in the programme

o   Nearly 2,000 female entrepreneurs, including 490 start-up companies accessed the training.

o   Over 200 received intense support, aimed at those women who had recently started a business and are now in a position to consider how to grow their business, including by exporting.

·         Over 330 women looking to return to the labour market took part to ensure their digital skills didn’t hold them back when applying for jobs or returning to their workplace following extended leave.

The Kent Women and Broadband Challenge Fund project 2015 – 2016 will receive £69,900 of funding. the programme, titled Business Re:Imagined, will support 30 women to have the confidence to innovate with technology and develop tangible business based ideas. Women will attend a series of technology seminars and clinics to put learning into practice, and access to business coaching/ technology mentoring. The programme will be delivered in partnership with Microsoft and Barclays Eagles

Local Authorities bid for funding to offer support tailored locally.  Examples include Capacity building projects to support women-led businesses achieve digitally led growth. Support networks, coaches and mentors to work with female entrepreneurs. 

Tracey said: “Today’s announcements comes as very welcome news, not only to the programme here in Kent but across England as a whole. The Government’s support for this initiative and project has just shown how much it is helping to encourage, engage and promote more women entrepreneurs to take advantage of the superfast broadband service to support their business. Here in Kent Kent the funding has enabled a cohort of 30 women to develop their knowledge and expertise through monthly lectures and coaching and I am sure the further funding will continue to create such support.”