12-month support scheme for female entrepreneurs and SMEs launched by Santander

The scheme will include the Women in Breakthrough Network for female business owners, which comes in a bid help mentor leaders and aspiring entrepreneurs, noting that women are responsible for around a third of UK business startups. Drawing from research that said most female entrepreneurs prefer working as a team or in virtual groups, the initiative will cover growth and more.

John Williams, head of the Santander UK Breakthrough Programme, said: “We are committed to helping people and businesses prosper. The Women in Breakthrough Programme has taken ambitious women on trade missions to potential export markets. Through the programme we now more closely understand the challenges faced by these fast-growing SMEs, and how we can support them even further. 

“It is vital that we support female entrepreneurs. The mentoring partnership with Cause4 is just one way in which we encourage more women in the UK to collaborate with one another and benefit from their mutual experience to find solutions and inspiration to help grow their business.”

Read more on female entrepreneurs:

Elsewhere, another area of focus will come with the Social Enterprise Breakthrough Network. At around 70,000 social enterprises operating in the UK, the businesses are contributing £18.5bn to the UK economy and employing 1m people – as such, Santander and Cause4 plan to work with 20 of the most scalable companies to offer guidance on scaling, income and export.

Lastly, the Encouraging Responsible Enterprise programme is to support fast-growth SMEs with the knowledge of improving business through charity, philanthropy and community engagement.

Michelle Wright, Cause4 CEO, said: “As a hyper-growth social business founded just five years ago, we understand the challenges faced by fast-growing SMEs and how crucial it is to be able to access the right kind of support during this critical period in any company’s life.

“All of these activities will be led by established entrepreneurs that can provide practical advice to those growing businesses, enabling them to take their enterprise to the next stage of development.”

The nationwide programme will be split across five business regions, including: Scotland and the North East; the North; the Midlands and Wales; London, Anglia and the South East, and Thames Valley and the South West.

Concerned with issues surrounding gender diversity in business? Don’t miss Real Business’s First Women programme:

Drawing on ten years of the First Women movement and the phenomenal network of pioneering women the Awards has created, this programme features The First Women Awards and The First Women Summit – designed to educate, mentor and inspire women in all levels of business.

Image via Shutterstock.

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