Core Systems CEO Patricia O’Hagan was invited to 10 Downing Street on Tuesday 8th Decemeber, alongside a number of female members of the Federation of Small businesses (FSB) from across the UK, who own and operate their own firms, to discuss some of the challenges and opportunities in business.
Senior advisors from Prime Minister David Cameron’s team heard about how the Government can encourage more women to set up and grow their own businesses from those with first-hand experience.
Those in attendance discussed the need for a greater range of female small business role models and mentors, easier access to alternative finance and more tailored business support focused on the specific challenges women face. Another of the big issues highlighted by the members was around building confidence and peer support. Together with improvements in education, this would see a cultural shift to encourage more women to set themselves up in business as the economic recovery continues. These are all areas of debate which Patricia is passionate about.
Government research shows currently one in five small or medium-sized businesses are majority women-led, however FSB research has shown increasing numbers of small firms established recently in retail, hotels, catering and leisure are owned primarily by women. FSB is working with the Government to make sure female entrepreneurs’ voices are heard and they are supported when looking to start or grow a business.
John Allan, National Chairman for the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“Understanding the importance of diversity and getting more women into business is critical for a dynamic and vibrant small business sector. Today has been a fantastic opportunity to bring together Government officials and women small business owners to address the changes we need to see.”
Helen Walbey, Diversity Portfolio Chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, added:
“Women-led smaller businesses already contribute over £75 billion to the UK economy. If women were to set up businesses and growing them at the same rate as men, we would see a huge boost to growth and prosperity in this country.
“It’s important that every government department, public agency, local authority and LEP understands what needs to be done to boost female entrepreneurship, from helping them to bid for contracts to tailored business support. Today FSB members had a chance to discuss this directly with those who have the power to make change, and we look forward to working with Ministers and officials to take this forward.”