Research and Intelligence

Supporting Women's Enterprise for Economic Growth

Publisher :
Date Published :
6 January 2011
Subject Keywords :
women's enterprise, enterprise
Area :
Format :


In 2007 the Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) funded a “Business Forums” project to address the gender imbalance in Enterprise which led to the development of the Northwest Women’s Enterprise Forum (NWWEF). This report supports the socio-economic argument for strategically supporting women’s enterprise, setting out the economic imperative for supporting and developing women’s enterprise. It is estimated that women-led small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute approximately £50 billion to the UK economy and the latest UK data indicates that “an increase in the number of majority women-led businesses by 100,000 would lead to an additional £7 billion annual output in the economy”.

The aim of the report is to provide an evidential baseline drawing on recent regional data and research to help inform the development of emerging enterprise frameworks to ensure that future business support is fit for purpose and continues to encourage and support women in business. The report also provides a brief overview of the main activities undertaken during the life of the Business Forums project

The report is split into 4 sections:

  • The Culture of Female Entrepreneurship
  • Female self-employment and business ownership
  • Women’s Enterprise: Growth and Development
  • Mainstreaming women’s business support

Encouraging more enterprise activity is essential for the future economic growth of the Northwest region and there are enormous benefits to be gained by addressing gender inequality in enterprise. It is critical that groups, networks and organisations that possess the expertise and knowledge of women’s enterprise issues are engaged with in the future as the new framework for economic growth is implemented and the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) emerge. 

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