Government launches first women’s enterprise policy centre in Europe

Government today reinforces its commitment to driving up the number of female entrepreneurs by launching the Prowess National Policy Centre (PNPC), at a reception at No 11 Downing St. The Centre, the first of its kind in Europe, will provide a focal point for women’s enterprise-related research and policy best practice and will be a source of expertise for Government, Regional Development Agencies (RDAs) and the private and third sectors on measures to increase the number of women-owned firms in the UK.

The PNPC is funded by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR). The establishment of PNPC was one of a package of measures to promote female entrepreneurship announced earlier this year in the Government’s Enterprise Strategy. The challenge for central and regional Government is to create the conditions which foster female-owned business start-up and growth, and so, contribute strongly to local, regional and national economies. Currently, women remain half as likely as men to start a business and just 16% of UK businesses are female-owned.

According to PNPC Director, Jackie Brierton: “In times of economic uncertainty, supporting businesses and developing new opportunities remains a priority. Women are under-represented in the business world, and if we can encourage more female entrepreneurship at this time, we’ll build a stronger and more diverse foundation for the country’s future economy. The Policy Centre’s mission is to influence policy, attitudes, delivery of business support and provision of finance to help more women start and grow sustainable businesses”.

Minister for Competitiveness and Small Business, Shriti Vadera said:

“There are 20% more people in enterprise in the US than in Britain, and the majority of that gap is made up of women, Getting more women entrepreneurs is an economic issue not just an equality issue. If we were to match US levels of women’s enterprise there would be 900,000 new businesses in the UK.

“There is a wealth of untapped talent and economic opportunity that could significantly boost the economy in these uncertain times. The Prowess National Policy Centre marks the Government’s strong commitment to support women in business”.

The key objectives of PNPC are:

Influencing enterprise policy and practice in the public and private sectors, internationally, nationally and regionally

Developing and commissioning women’s enterprise-relevant research

Providing a knowledge bank for women’s enterprise-related data, research and information

Collecting, collating and disseminating best practice in policy and delivery

Stimulating interest and raising awareness of women’s enterprise in the public and private sectors

Strategic assistance to BERR in the implementation of women’s enterprise aspects of the Enterprise Strategy

The PNPC is managed by Prowess – the UK Voice for Women’s Enterprise. Prowess has over 300 members, mostly business support providers, who between them support over 100,000 women each year.

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