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Government to launch 25 million fund for Womens Enterprise


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Date: 19 Nov 2008

The Government will today launch the Aspire Fund - a 25 million investment fund for women-led businesses - to be jointly funded by the Government and private sector.

Shriti Vadera, Minister for Economic Competitiveness and Small Business, will launch the fund at the Everywoman Conference on Women's Enterprise Day (19 November), which is part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The Aspire Investment Fund is the first of its kind and will receive over 12.5 million in funding from the Department for Business to be matched by a further 12.5 million from private sector investment.

The fund will act as a beacon to encourage women with businesses to seek appropriate equity finance and will also demonstrate to the business community what investment opportunities already exist from businesses being run by women.

The Fund will be accessed via Business Link and managed by Capital for Enterprise Limited. The fund follows on from a commitment made in the Government's Enterprise Strategy to further promote and support the development of women's enterprise. The fund is aimed at high growth businesses seeking an investment of between 100,000 and 2 million to help finance growth.

Minister for Economic 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 Women's Investment Fund marks the Government's strong commitment to support women in business".

Co-Chairs of the Women's Enterprise Task Force (WETF), Pam Alexander and Glenda Stone added:

"The Women's Enterprise Task Force welcomes the launch of the Aspire Fund, which will help address a key funding gap for women entrepreneurs. As co-chairs of the Task Force, we look forward to working closely with BERR and CfEL to make this fund a success and to build on existing initiatives supporting women business owners."

1. Businesses interested in finding out more about risk capital funding and how to access it will be able to contact their local Business Link who can signpost them to appropriate provision.

2. The Aspire Fund forms part of a range of measures to promote women's enterprise that were included in the Government's new Enterprise Strategy - "Enterprise: unlocking the UK's talent" - published in March this year. These include the provision of women's business centre pilots, a new national centre of expertise for women's enterprise, and activity aimed at opening up procurement opportunities to women-owned businesses. A copy of the strategy is available at

3. Business Link can be accessed via or through the Business Link Helpline on 0845 6009 006.

4. The Women's Enterprise Task Force advises Government on the development of women's enterprise policy and delivery. Its membership is drawn from the private public, private and third sectors. The co-Chairs are Pam Alexander (CEO, SEEDA) and Glenda Stone (CEO, Aurora). More information on the Women's Enterprise Task Force can be found on http://www.womensenterprisetas

5. The Aspire Fund will contain an important component of support, guidance and investment readiness assistance to help strengthen the funding propositions from women entrepreneurs. Working through a network of investment readiness providers and programmes, women entrepreneurs will be directed to the fund's investment partners.

6. Pam Alexander is co-Chair of the Women's Enterprise Task Force (WETF) and Chief Executive of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).

7. Glenda Stone is co-Chair of the Women's Enterprise Task Force WETF and Chief Executive of Aurora.

8. Everywoman was Founded in September 1999, everywoman Ltd is the UK's leading provider of training, resources and support services for women in business, thought leaders in women's business development and promoters of women in business and gender diversity. Its mission is to Inspire Women to Excel. Everywoman works to increase the number, and raise the status, of women in the UK economy, using their experience and expertise to help women achieve their aspirations and realise their business ambitions. everywoman delivers conferences and events, awards programmes, training and leadership programmes. It developed the UK's first, and largest, online resource for women business owners (, which now has over 34,000 members.

Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform
7th Floor, 1 Victoria Street, London SW1H 0ET

Public enquiries +44 (0)20 7215 5000
Textphone +44 (0)20 7215 6740 (for those with hearing impairment)

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Crown Copyright. Material taken from the BERR- Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform replacing DTI - Department for Trade and Industry. Reproduced under the terms and conditions of the Click-Use Licence.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-11-19 11:55:54 in Business Articles

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