Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has welcomed £54,000 of extra funding that has been announced for Worcestershire’s Women2Web project, helping more female entrepreneurs to launch online businesses in the County. In an article published today, the Prime Minister has announced that he intends to end the gender pay gap within a generation, which is welcome news to Worcester’s MP Robin Walker who, as well as supporting Rt Hon Nicky Morgan MP in her role as Education Secretary is also PPS for Women & Equalities.

“I am enjoying my work as PPS for the Secretary of State for Women & Equalities” Robin said. “I believe in equal opportunities for men and women in all aspects of their lives and having worked for some inspirational women both in my business career and in politics, I need no convincing of the power of female leaders. It is good news that there are more women-led businesses than ever before and women now make up at least 25% of all FTSE100 company boards with no all-male boards in the top 100 companies. Women are vital to the success of the British economy and further progress towards equality in the workplace is vital”.

The Prime Minister also today announced measures requiring larger companies to publish the gap between average female and male earnings in order to highlight pay discrepancies and create the pressure we need to drive women’s wages up. This, alongside the wider programme of 30 hours of free childcare and the National Living Wage, aims to close the gender pay gap and foster greater equality in the workplace.

The gender pay gap in the UK is at its lowest level in years having fallen from 20% in 2013 to 19.3% in 2014. Worcester is leading the way with a lower gender pay gap of 12.6%. “Worcester is doing well with local women leading the way, and while there is still work to be done to reduce this even further, the measures announced today are certainly a step in the right direction” says Robin.

Female entrepreneurs are also getting a helping hand from the Government, with the women and broadband programme for women entrepreneurs being extended to support more women to take their business online and take advantage of superfast broadband. A further £1.1 million is being made available to provide a programme to help women take advantage of superfast broadband to either start a business or work from home. This is in addition to the £1.1m the Government has already invested and includes the further funding for Worcestershire’s proven programme.

Commenting on this Robin said:

“It’s fantastic that more women will be supported in founding and growing their own businesses on the web and, with high speed broadband rolling out in more areas, there is a real opportunity for entrepreneurs. I welcome this extra funding for World Class Worcestershire.”

Notes to Editors:

For further details on the announcement:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-my-one-nation-government-will-close-the-gender-pay-gap

To read the Prime Minister’s article in full:

http://betterfutu.re/paygap

Women and Broadband Challenge Fund 2015 

  • The Government’s women and broadband programme for women entrepreneurs will be extended to support more women to take their business online and take advantage of superfast broadband.
  • A further £1.1 million is being made available to provide a programme to help women take advantage of superfast broadband to either start a business or work from home. This is in addition to the £1.1m the Government has already invested.
  • The Superfast broadband programme provides an opportunity for women-led businesses and potential female entrepreneurs to take advantage of faster broadband to expand or set up new businesses.
  • The Government is investing more than £1 billion in better broadband and mobile infrastructure across the UK. Better broadband and mobile connectivity is delivering real benefits for jobs and growth and quality of life.
  • In 2014, the Minister for Women announced a £1m challenge fund to help women grow their business online. The fund was established to help female entrepreneurs and women returners to the workforce whose digital skills are out of date.
  • Local Authorities bid for funding to offer support tailored locally. Examples include: Capacity building projects to support women-led businesses achieve digitally led growth. Cambridgeshire has developed digital and tech clinics in existing community access points and library learning centres for women to build their digital confidence. Support networks, coaches and mentors to work with female entrepreneurs. For example, Kent are supporting a cohort of 30 women to develop their knowledge and expertise through monthly lectures and coaching.
  • In the first phase of the programme:
  • Over 2,500 women attended events across the 16 projects with over 900 women-led businesses taking part in the programme
  • Nearly 2,000 female entrepreneurs, including 490 start-up companies accessed the training.
  • Over 200 received intense support, aimed at those women who had recently started a business and are now in a position to consider how to grow their business, including by exporting.
  • Over 330 women looking to return to the labour market took part to ensure their digital skills didn’t hold them back when applying for jobs or returning to their workplace following extended leave.

Women and Broadband Challenge Fund projects 2015 – 2016

Worcestershire Women2Web will offer 250 women in 10 locations across rural Worcestershire access to 1) workshops on a range of start-up and growth themes; 2) networking ‘happy hours’; and 3) 1-2-1 mentoring support from female entrepreneurs. It will also offer more ‘hands on’ support to deepen digital know-how and new ‘Get It Done’ IT sessions to help women who need it to get started in the cloud. Action learning mentoring sessions will be offered to small groups of women to problem solve and provide on-going peer support. £54,000