Female business owners represent around 15 per cent of all VAT-registered businesses in the UK. Despite women’s enterprise representing a source of significant economic and job-creation potential, there is a dearth of tailored support for start-up and growth.
The East of England Development Agency (EEDA) and Peterborough City Council commissioned YTKO Group to develop a strategy to help promote and support aspiration and enterprise for women in Peterborough.
YTKO Group created the model and developed the business strategy for the UK’s second specialist Business Centre for women. This included advising on the fit-out of a highly visible city centre location, to maximise awareness of the support services on offer in an area of high footfall.
The centre included Wi-Fi, hot-desking and incubation facilities, a training room, information stands and display areas for client’s products and services, and a café to generate additional revenue streams. A crèche was provided to promote inclusion and accessibility for mothers with aspirations for enterprise.
We managed the launch and marketing of the Peterborough Women’s Enterprise Centre, and awareness-raising and demand generation activities throughout the City. In partnership with the Enterprising Women network, YTKO Group delivered the Centre’s services, including advice, training workshops on all aspects of setting up and growing a business, help to access finance, 1:1 coaching and mentoring, and a wide range of outreach, business networking and social events.
In just twelve months from launch, the Centre engaged with more than 500 women (and quite a few men!), enabled the creation of 26 businesses and 28 new jobs, and trained more than 130 businesswomen. In addition, it helped 165 women prepare for employment, having decided that enterprise was not right for them.
PWEC was selected as an example of UK Best Practice by the European WINNET 8 programme, a study of best practice in supporting the female economy and promoting gender equality in eight European countries. It was subsequently showcased to an international audience at the Scottish Parliament.