5 ways to better help Women in Business and #InvestinWomen2015

Yvonne Bignall and Helen Farmer took the Manifesto for Women in Business to the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs in Bristol, to find out what attendees thought.

Some background.  Prowess Connect is an informal group of people who are passionate about supporting women in business and committed to pushing for positive change.  In our experience 5 things keep cropping up as common challenges for women, especially parents, in business.

This led us to create the Manifesto for Women in Business, with five key points the government can address to ensure that women in business are better supported, funded, considered and represented:


What Bristol women in business think

The third Festival of Female Entrepreneurs saw hundreds of women descend on Colston Hall in Bristol for inspiration and business opportunities at the UK’s biggest Female Entrepreneur Festival. Joni Farthing, founder of festival and a strong advocate for better representation and investment in women in business, kindly agreed to offer us a stall to talk to delegates about the Manifesto. Here is what women told us matters to them.

Flexibility and Care – not just of children, but older children, elderly and others with care needs, were the most talked about obstacles for the women in business we spoke to. As this recent article by Rose Slosek suggests, we are seeing more women business owners caring for frail parents and a growing ‘sandwich generation’ who are responsible for their parents and their children.

Education also came up a few times – encouraging business thinking and action at a younger age.

Funding and business support. Several people mentioned access and information about funding as an issue alongside the need for cohesive, tailored business support that meets women’s needs. 

Some people said women need to think bigger – starting or growing a business, not only self-employment. That’s why point 5 in the Manifesto is so important. It’s critical for women and our economy that women’s businesses benefit from a fair share of the government investment supporting business growth. Joni Farthing’s blogs here about why size matters to women.   The campaign was also covered in the local press, where it attracted a response from Jack Lopresti MP.

What can we do about this? Speak up and take action…

Have your say – read, share and comment on the Women in Business Manifesto

Ways you can be involved

Lobby your MP Send them an email and attach the link to the manifesto – ask them what their party is intending to do for women in business. Find contact details for your MP here

Sign up to Prowess Connect Join in the debate on LinkedIn and contribute to the next steps for the manifesto.

Pledge your support Head to the manifesto and put your support in the comments underneath.

Spread the word If you are linked with other businesses, local government, Chamber of Commerce, networking group let them know about it and get them on board!

Use the hashtag Make your support public by using the hashtag #InvestinWomen2015

Join these Bristol women!




Helen Farmer and Yvonne Bignall both run their own businesses and work with many other women in business.

Helen runs VoiceByVolume.com – Marketing for Good Business and Social Good, currently looking at Bristol’s answers for Richard Branson’s Plan B for Business – People, Planet, Profit.

Yvonne runs an award winning Personal Development Training Service and is soon to launch the Launching Women into Business Programme to help women be as successful in business as they can be.

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