News & Opinion

The Telegraph launches campaign calling for Britain to support female entrepreneurs

As the world celebrates International Women's Day, The Telegraph launches Women Mean Business, a campaign examining start-up sexism which sees women at a distinct disadvantage as they endeavour to launch their own businesses.

Women Mean Business will be an ongoing campaign telling a positive story about how women run good businesses really well – when they are given the chance – looking at the world of start-ups, investigating the funding gap, profiling some brilliant business leaders and debating the issues.

To draw attention to the issue, The Telegraph has published an open letter to the Government, signed by business leaders, entrepreneurs, MPs and academics. Signatories include Samantha Cameron, Alexa Chung, Baroness Karren Brady, Justine Roberts, Mary Portas, Nicky Morgan MP, Stella Creasy MP and Baroness Martha Lane Fox.

The letter expresses concern that predominantly female entrepreneurs in the UK are being unfairly held back, and calls on the government to take measures to help close the funding gap which prevents many women from starting their own businesses.

Exclusive research conducted on behalf of The Telegraph found that the majority of female business owners – 65 per cent – found themselves not being taken seriously when initially setting up their business.

To kick-start the campaign, The Telegraph has published an eight-page supplement outlining the problems facing female entrepreneurs in Britain today, including a column by Lord Hague on why men must join women in the fight for equality. It also features interviews with high profile business women including Justine Roberts and Helena Morrissey, on the setbacks they faced but which they overcame, plus an interview with some of the original Ford Dagenham equal pay women, 50 years on.

Allister Heath, editor of The Sunday Telegraph and The Telegraph's head of business, said: "Women being placed at a significant disadvantage when wishing to set up their own businesses is an issue which cannot be ignored in modern society. The Telegraph's Women Mean Business campaign aims to play a crucial role in shining a light on this inequality and make a genuine difference in closing the funding gap."

Claire Cohen, editor of Telegraph Women, commented: "In a year which has marked 100 years since the Representation of the People Act, it is a fitting tribute that The Telegraph is launching this campaign. There is still work to be done to achieve full equality and this is something which can benefit not just women but the whole British economy."

Victoria Harper, Telegraph Features director, added: "My hope is that this campaign shouldn't be seen as a women's issue. It is an issue backing Britain's entrepreneurs, which benefits everyone."

by Jessie Sampson 08/03/18

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