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Toolkit launched to get better focused support for businesswomen

Catherine Johns, from the North East England Chamber of Commerce women's advisory board. Picture by Stuart Boulton
Catherine Johns, from the North East England Chamber of Commerce women's advisory board. Picture by Stuart Boulton

A self-assessment tool to help business support and professional service companies ensure they are not missing out on valuable opportunities was launched on International Women’s Day last week.

The North East England Chamber of Commerce developed the tool because research by a wide range of business organisations shows there is often an unconscious bias in how business support and finance growth companies promote their products, which could be putting off female entrepreneurs.

This includes a range of issues from the timing and type of events to lack of emphasis on subjects women often see as particularly important, such as increasing their business knowledge.

The Chamber toolkit is an easy-to-use series of questions to help organisations quickly assess how they might or might not be attracting female entrepreneurs.

The survey covers areas such as how men and women are represented in any imagery used by the business.

Catherine Johns, from the Chamber’s women’s advisory board (which had the initiative as its one of its 2018 priorities) and innovation director for Business Durham, said: “This toolkit is a quick and easy way for us, as a region, to realise untapped potential within businesses run by women.

“It will take an organisation five minutes to get a clear picture of how well they provide for both sexes in all aspects of their operation.

“I urge all companies to do this for the benefit of their own business development, female entrepreneurs’ growth and the whole region’s economy.”

To access the toolkit, businesses can look on the North East England Chamber of Commerce website in the policy campaign section.