Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre launches dedicated scheme for female entrepreneurs
PUBLISHED: 09:00 24 October 2017
Simon Lee Photography
Following on from the success of its first year, the Ipswich Waterfront Innovation Centre (IWIC) has launched a new scheme to support female entrepreneurs.
The Suffolk Centre for Female Entrepreneurship was launched as part of the IWIC’s first anniversary celebrations last week, with the express purpose of supporting women as entrepreneurs, and address the gender disparity.
Tim Greenacre, registrar and secretary, said: “The traditional [entrepreneur] occupation is a male working in a tech business.
“We are not looking to exclude them but there are a whole range of other businesses, and there are all sorts of different women that could engage and benefit from joining the IWIC community.
“This is one of very few centres of this sort in the country.”
As well as helping female entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, the centre will help them address the traditional barriers they face, and offer support, advice and mentoring in overcoming hurdles.
The programme will also encourage people when they are planning and building their start-ups to do so in an inclusive manner for both sexes.
Stef Thorne, head of research and enterprise services, said: “We have some very successful female entrepreneurs in Ipswich and we are hoping they will be involved in how they overcame their barriers and we are speaking to a number now that have really come forward to be involved with this.”
A series of focus groups and guest speakers are being lined up, as well as opportunities for academics from the university to conduct research as to why those barriers exist and what can be done to address them, with centre bosses believing female entrepreneurs can unlock a lot of potential for economic growth.
Two female entrepreneurs came on board following the launch speech.
Sally Goodsell from New Anglia Capital group said: “Females make fantastic entrepreneurs and run brilliant businesses, but sadly are still under represented in this field. Research shows that females face particular barriers in starting and growing businesses and it is therefore great that the university is now providing specialist support to enhance the potential of female entrepreneurs in our region.”
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