According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of self-employed women is rising at nearly three times the rate of men, with the number of female entrepreneurs increasing by 9.6% during the past two years, compared with a 3.3 per cent rise for men.
Technology is inevitably playing a big part in this increase, with many female entrepreneurs now setting up and building their own businesses with the ability to work flexibly or from home, trade online and keep overheads low.
But while email, websites and social media are all widely used and valuable tools for the entrepreneur, there still remains a real lack of awareness of how best to exploit all of the advantages that superfast broadband and the full range of digital technologies can give women in their own businesses.
Our new Eveolution Programme is addressing exactly those issues and is helping women across Greater Manchester to fully capitalise upon the business opportunities offered through the government’s superfast broadband programme (SFB). Using a programme of conferences, workshops, digital drop in sessions and one to one support we are showing women just how they can learn more about and profitably embed technology into their own enterprises.
We all know that digital tools improve business performance but they can also be used to overcome specific hurdles that can be specific to women in business — time and mobility constraints; access to training, information and advice; and networking opportunities.
Between now and March 2015 we will be holding a series of exciting workshops and pop up events across Greater Manchester that will look at many of these topics and more that our female clients have told us they would like to know more about. These will include all you need to know about the resources available on the internet and how to set up and use social media; how to build an App in 12 hours; how to build an eBay business and the variety of options available today in home working and tele-prescence.
We will also be at the North West Women’s Enterprise day http://nwwe.org.uk on 21st November and will be using a video diary to record and mentor five women through their journey working with us.
Today, technology needs to be at the heart of every business and is where growth lies, for individual entrepreneurs, the region and the country. The Internet economy in the UK is worth 8.3% of GDP and is projected to grow to 12.4% by 2016*
Now has never been a better time for women to harness this potential, take the plunge and implement SFB and digital technologies into their businesses. What have you got to lose?
You can get more information on the Eveolution programme by calling the Business Growth Hub’s Digital Growth team on 0161 359 3050 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
*Boston Consulting Group, March 2012