Women-led businesses now represent 20 per cent of all SMEs in the UK, up from 12 per cent in 2010, and ministers would like to help them access faster broadband and encourage more women to start new businesses.Speaking at Google Campus to announce the fund, Minister for Women Nicky Morgan said: “There are thousands of women running some amazing small businesses all over the UK but they still make up just a fifth of all small businesses. “This fund will give women the practical help needed to get their businesses online and take advantage of superfast broadband. This will include online mentors, business clubs and training courses so that women all over the country can benefit from the kind of help Campus for Mums is giving.” The fund is part of the government’s Superfast Broadband rollout. There are 40 local broadband projects in England, already delivering the programme and they will be invited to submit bids to the £1m challenge fund in May 2014. Female entrepreneurs can also take advantage of a 50 per cent contribution of up to £2,000 from the Growth Voucher programme to pay for help with accounting or marketing advice. The Department for Business will be working closely with women’s enterprise groups including: Everywoman, Prowess, and Mumpreneurs, to ensure that female entrepreneurs are aware of and encouraged to apply for the money.
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