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29th Jun, 2022

Businesswomen need more tailored support to get ahead claims Warwickshire study

MORE specific business support is needed to help businesswomen reach their full potential, according to a new report.

Figures from the in the Workplace report, from the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP), show over 79 per cent of women between 16 and 64 are active in the labour market in the region – higher than proportions across the West Midlands and nationally.

Regional earnings continue to differ by gender, with Gross Weekly Pay estimated at £534 in 2020 for women, and £699 for men.

The SmartRegion report from the partnership’s Growth Hub, also says there are 18,000 self-employed women in Coventry and Warwickshire compared to 34,000 men.

Executive director at the Coventry & Warwickshire Reinvestment Trust (CWRT) Sheridan Sulskis explained there were excellent business support schemes available in the area but more could be done to specifically target and support women.

She said: “Business groups and organisations, stakeholders and CWLEP must continue to review the landscape regularly and adapt provisions to create a work environment where people are treated fairly and where everyone feels respected, valued, and empowered to reach their full potential.

“We need to acknowledge and focus on how the workplace and business is changing – automation and digital trends have really accelerated during Covid-19.

“As the economy re-emerges from the pandemic, women’s opportunities for re-entry and re-engagement into the workforce could be made easier by a need to reskill or find new career opportunities.

“We need to encourage women by addressing underlying gender inequalities in society around unpaid care and domestic work. This could be through paid parental leave, affordable access to childcare, and more flexible working options.

“There also needs to be dedicated support for female business initiatives and future female employment in high growth sectors of the economy along with a focus on retraining and upskilling women to access jobs in growth areas such as digital, renewable energy, and the Green Economy.

“Financial support schemes for female entrepreneurs and female-led start-ups in these sectors would give women more financial independence and boost the productivity of the economy.”

Sheridan also revealed CWRT was investing in an exclusive support programme designed by women for women called The Financial Fit to deliver, help retrain and boost the confidence of business owners.

She added: “Our collective eco-system has a strong track record in strategy setting and delivery and we continue to use this strength to build a resilient and inclusive business support landscape in Coventry and Warwickshire.”

Craig Humphrey, managing director of the CWLEP Growth Hub, said measures to help businesses navigate the ongoing pandemic were regularly discussed among local authorities and business networks, which included encouraging more women to set up their own businesses.

The SmartRegion report gathers information from its business engagements as well as from CWLEP, Coventry City Council, Warwickshire County Council and other organisations.

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