SETsquared Bristol, the University of Bristol-led tech incubator, has opened applications for Enterprising Women 3.0, a supportive and inclusive business support program to help women take their business or idea to the next stage.
The NatWest funded program will run from February to July 2023 and provide expert business support, workshops, mentoring and coaching, along with access to a valuable network of businesses, advisers and investors.
Enterprising Women is one of SETsquared Bristol’s initiatives to improve gender and minority ethnic diversity in tech and ensure that underrepresented groups get access to business support.
Kimberley Brook, Program Manager at SETsquared Bristol, said: “We’re thrilled to be running Enterprising Women again with NatWest’s kind support. Since the program started in 2020, we’ve supported 36 women entrepreneurs to launch and grow their businesses. To date, these businesses have raised a combined £ 6.5 million in funding and created over 150 jobs and we’re really proud of these results. “
Cheryl Gourlay, National Women in Business Manager at NatWest, said: “Despite more women setting up and scaling up in business, disparity between men and women remains so it is vital that we make entrepreneurship more accessible for women by increasing support locally, through relatable and accessible mentors and networks. This is why we’re delighted to support SETsquared for a third year to deliver Enterprising Women. “
NatWest’s Rose Review highlights that if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men, up to £ 250 billion of new value could be added to the UK economy. This year’s Progress Report highlighted how resilient female entrepreneurs have been throughout the pandemic with more women than ever starting new businesses, making a bigger contribution to the UK’s economy and benefiting from extra investment.
Enterprising Women has supported a diverse range of businesses to date, with many innovations aiming to solve the world’s biggest problems such as food waste, microfibre pollution, stroke rehabilitation and online safety.
Dr Jenny Bailey, Co-founder and CEO of University of Bristol spin-out Ferryx, began her business journey on the Enterprising Women program. Jenny has recently raised £ 300k seed capital for further development of Ferryx’s innovative solution to common gut problems.
She said: “As a novice to the world of business, Enterprising Women equipped me with vital business skills in the early stages of my company and set me on the right track towards raising investment. I met a fabulous group of dynamic, motivated, inspirational women who have been a great support network over the last two years. “
Dr Caroline Clark, University of Bristol alumna and Co-founder of Zebera, an open innovation platform for young people, said: “Enterprising Women highlighted and answered all of the early unknowns and questions you have when starting your own business and allowed time to follow those up with advisors and mentors. It enabled the joy of sharing those early experiences with others – 100% worth applying for. “
Enterprising Women 3.0 will culminate with a showcase and pitching event in Autumn 2023 to recognize the awardees’ achievements and launch their businesses.
Women with innovative business ideas or side hustles who would like to find out more about Enterprising Women 3.0 are encouraged to sign up to the online launch event on Thursday 10 November from 12-2 pm. The program is open to women founders of any tech, tech-enabled and non-tech businesses. Apply by midnight on 8 December 2022.
About Enterprising Women:
Enterprising Women 3.0 is a supportive and inclusive business support program, fully funded by NatWest, to help women take their business or idea to the next stage. Selected entrepreneurs will benefit from SETsquared Bristol’s world-class business support and a valuable network to connect with. Enterprising Women is open to UK residents with an innovative business idea or side hustle that they want to commercialise. Eligible businesses / ideas can be tech, tech enabled or non-tech.
Applications close on 8 December 2022 with the selection taking place in January 2023. The programme runs from February to July 2023 and includes six half day workshops delivered by SETsquared Bristol Entrepreneurs in Residence, as well as sessions with expert Advisors in Residence and dedicated mentor support . The program will culminate with a showcase and pitching event in Autumn 2023.
More information about NatWest’s Women in Business initiatives and the Rose Review report is available here.
About SETsquared Bristol:
SETsquared Bristol is a University of Bristol-led tech incubator, supporting founders to grow their businesses and make an impact in the world. It has incubated over 300 companies to date, with over £ 626 million raised. It supports its companies with bespoke business support, skills and training, an expert network and community of startups and scaleups. It has been named ‘Hottest Accelerator in Europe’ at The Europas Awards and has three times been awarded ‘Global # 1 University Business Incubator’ as part of the SETsquared Partnership of six centers.
Since launching Enterprising Women in 2020, women have comprised 45% of SETsquared Bristol technology companies’ founders / C-suite. In 2021, 70% of the highest investment raises came from the incubator’s women-led companies. Although these figures don’t yet demonstrate fair representation, they do compare favourably to the UK average.
More information about SETsquared Bristol’s diversity and inclusion work is available here.