New mentoring scheme for female entrepreneurs

The Be The Business Rose Review Female Entrepreneurs Mentoring Programme, in association with NatWest, will provide free, hands-on support to female business owners to help prepare them for the challenges to come.

In the months ahead, SME owners will be making big decisions to secure their futures in the face of coronavirus. Ensuring all entrepreneurs have access to the support they need to help them make these decisions is crucial to our economic recovery.

In 2019, NatWest chief executive Alison Rose’s review of female entrepreneurship revealed that if women were to start and scale businesses at the same rate as men, it would add £250bn to the UK economy. But, as the Rose Review identified, a key barrier to female entrepreneurs starting or scaling a business is a lack of relatable role models and access to networks, sponsorship and mentorship opportunities through which they can gain relevant advice and insight.

To help address this, NatWest has teamed up with Be The Business to launch the Be The Business Rose Review Female Entrepreneurs Mentoring Programme, a free mentoring service for female entrepreneurs, in the Sheffield City Region.

Be The Business is a government-supported independent charity created to close the UK’s productivity gap – and a crucial part of its work is helping female entrepreneurs maximise the potential of their businesses. “Many female-owned businesses have huge potential, but for a number of reasons, they don’t tend to scale up,” says Louise Sunderland, director of programmes at Be The Business. “If we can help more female-owned businesses be the most efficient they can be, or help them grow and expand, the benefits to them, local communities and the wider economy will be huge.”

Julie Baker, head of enterprise and community finance at NatWest, observes that female business owners, among other groups, have been “disproportionately affected” by the coronavirus pandemic.

“If we can help more female-owned businesses grow and expand, the benefits to them, local communities and the wider economy will be huge” said Louise Sunderland, director of programmes, Be The Business.

How will the programme work?

The programme will give business owners the opportunity to gain insight and support from business leaders with years of senior-level experience in a number of fields, who will be on hand to discuss and work through business challenges. The mentoring experience will be tailored to the individual – whether that is help developing leadership and management skills, assisting with strategy and business planning or boosting confidence and motivation for change.

To take part in the programme, you need to: 

  • already run your own business
  • identify as a woman
  • live or run your business in the Sheffield City Region

Once your application has been accepted, you will then go through a pairing process to be matched with a mentor. To get the most out of the programme, applicants are encouraged to catch up with their mentors weekly (through calls or online meetings) during the 12-week scheme.

For SME owners who don’t have access to a team of advisers or an active board of directors to advise on next steps for the business, it is invaluable to have an experienced, independent mentor to give an impartial opinion, test ideas with or provide advice. Equally, some mentees want a mentor with a very specific skill set to help them in a particular area – for example, developing a new marketing strategy, or developing a new product or service. In these cases, the mentor and mentee will spend the 12-week period working on the specific topic or business challenge.

If gaining insight and a fresh perspective on business challenges from a mentor sounds like it could help you, register for the webinar on 27 October to find out more about the Be The Business Rose Review Female Entrepreneurs Mentoring Programme.


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