Top entrepreneur inspires Northumberland’s businesswomen

Michelle Mone at the Be Digital event at The Alnwick Garden. Picture by RJM Photography
Michelle Mone at the Be Digital event at The Alnwick Garden. Picture by RJM Photography

More than 100 women turned out for a special event at The Alnwick Garden this week as part of a project to support women in business.

Northumberland’s Be Digital project has received £71,000 of funding from the Government Equalities Office as part of the national Women and Broadband Challenge.

It has come about due to concerns that women are far less likely than men to be involved in entrepreneurship.

Tuesday’s event was to highlight the project, which aims to help women grow their businesses, using digital strategies where possible, and also launch the Springboard Programme, a six-month intensive business support course.

Tanya Garland, founder of Cool Blue marketing agency, and Layla Welsh, of Morpeth-based French Grey Tales, spoke at the event, while the keynote speaker was Michelle Mone, founder of underwear brand Ultimo and one of the UK’s leading female entrepreneurs.

The idea was to inspire women to start or grow their own businesses.

Fay Cooper, digital strategy manager at Northumberland County Council, said: “More than 100 women turned up and it was really good, we had lots of positive feedback.

“Some of the women we may never see again, but they came and got quite a lot out of it.

“I think they really appreciated what Michelle had to say and a lot of women asked questions that were very appropriate to their business so it was definitely a huge success.”

The Be Digital website, which has information on networks, a directory of businesses and other resources, can be found at

It also has information about how to apply for the Springboard Programme, which is limited to just 20 places and for which applications must be in by the end of the month.

Be Digital also works with Sure Start centres to help women get back into the workplace.