Girl Power hit Wythenshawe’s Enterprise Centre in July as local women returned to celebrate a reunion event for its ‘Women in Business’ training programme.
The successful programme of free training workshops, run for women by women, is part of Wythenshawe Community Housing Groups award winning Enterprise Support Project which identified a lack of development of women’s Enterprise in the UK.
Enterprise Centre Manager Phil Duffield said: “With the government highlighting the lack of women’s enterprise back in 2005 the Enterprise Support Project responded by developing the ‘Women in Business’ training course.”
Phil added: “Since we started the course in 2007, supported by Manchester City Councils Wythenshawe Regeneration team, there has been a year-on-year increase of women coming to see me for business advice and they now account for over half my clients.”
But this year a recent study by computer giant Dell found that the UK has just five female start-ups for every ten started by males. However Wythenshawe is bucking the trend. Over the past two-years the number of businesses started by female clients seeking advice is now over 50%.
So far the Enterprise Support Project has helped over 220 businesses to start in Wythenshawe.
Phil commented: “I have advised over 1,000 people and the ‘Women in Business’ programmes have seen 160 clients attend with approximately half the women who complete the course going on to start their own business. This shows that the people of Wythenshawe and women in particular, given the right support and advice are as entrepreneurial, or even more so, as any other area in the county.”
Susan Gordan who completed the programme in 2012 said: “The course inspired me and helped me stay motivated with my new venture.”
The programme also offers immeasurable benefits by addressing issues identified as being specific to women such as work life balance and childcare issues.
Entrepreneur Mindi Sehmi who attended the last course reflected on how the programme has changed her life and believes it can change many more lives of women in Wythenshawe.
She said: “A lot of women on the course had personal barriers and through support, empathy and belief we are now in a far better place personally. We are ready to take on the challenge of starting our own business and more importantly we can see that its achievable.”
The project hopes to begin its 15th course in Autumn 2014 from the Enterprise Centre which brings together affordable all-inclusive office space alongside FREE business advice for local people. For more information visit www.willowparkenterprise.com call 0161 945 0655 or drop in!