Inspiring the next generation of female entrepreneurs: Lloyds Bank explains why innovation matters | So Good News


Catherine Rutter, Lloyds Banking Group Ambassador for Yorkshire and the Humber, wants more collaboration and support to help women-owned businesses in the region.

Creating favorable conditions for female entrepreneurs
Creating favorable conditions for female entrepreneurs

As a woman in business herself, Kathryn wants to shine a light on the challenges of women-owned businesses and encourage collaborative thinking to help build the incredible innovations that are already happening.

It’s simple; More needs to be done to help women-owned startups get where they need to be. As a region, we need to increase collaboration and encourage women business leaders to share their experiences to unlock and maximize the growth potential of half the population.

“By engaging women at a young age, we empower ourselves to change the path of the next generation.”

And the main driving force of this growth will be innovation. Whether it’s new products and services or using technology to improve productivity, we need to work together to ensure equal opportunities for all.

Innovation and productivity go hand in hand. For both to thrive, we need to help women-led businesses of all shapes and sizes in all sectors access the tools and support they need to take an idea and turn it into success.

But the idea of ​​innovation sometimes sounds overwhelming, especially to people who are changing careers or who have an idea but don’t necessarily have the experience to make it a reality. But I think a lot can be done to educate women about the different forms innovation can take, and building confidence from a young age is an important part of that.

By engaging women at a young age, we empower ourselves to change the path of the next generation. We need to show young people that they really can achieve anything they put their minds to and start the conversation about entrepreneurial career choices.

But to do this successfully, we need people who nurture these ambitions and encourage creative and critical thinking from the earliest opportunity. If we can get role models who support women from a young age, or even participate in career discussions at school, we can begin to create a culture that helps women achieve their career ambitions in the business world.

It is critical for women to have access to appropriate programs and training to help them achieve their business goals. Whether it’s role models, mentors, or peer networks, it’s important to support each other by building a sense of community. Presenting real-life examples of innovation allows entrepreneurs to see first-hand how to take their idea and turn it into reality.

Fortunately, there are many supporters in the region. For example, the ESF-funded #WECAN project, led by Leeds Beckett University, helps businesses identify their needs and plan to achieve their ambitions.

There’s also the £22m West Yorkshire Business Accelerator Fund, which gives women entrepreneurs access to advice, guidance and mentoring, as well as networking with other like-minded businesses.

We know from talking to women in Yorkshire and the Humber that 38% are looking for help with leadership skills, 36% with digital skills and 31% with finding talent. Through Lloyds Bank Academy, we deliver free online digital packages designed to give individuals and businesses the confidence to improve their skills. This includes training on how to create a sustainable and customer-focused strategy, how to be a more effective leader, and how to work productively and collaboratively.

The digital world is constantly evolving and we know that a fifth (23%) have digitized their business from day one. To help keep up with the changing digital landscape and offer the most up-to-date support, Lloyds Bank also partners with Google and Microsoft to help small businesses start up and succeed.

Creating the right environment

However, it would be a mistake for me to say that building such a support network is a walk in the park, as knowing where to turn for support when you are your own boss can be very difficult. But our research shows that 42% of women-led businesses in Yorkshire want access to case studies of people who have been through the same journey as them, so it’s clear that moving forward is an important issue.

Sharing personal experiences can give someone the confidence they need to realize their ambitions and discover our support across the region. And it doesn’t just help in the short term. By developing innovations, companies live longer, more easily overcome economic shocks and bring new ideas that attract new investments.

But time isn’t always a luxury, so having the headspace to seek out and absorb the right information can be difficult.

As part of our mission to help women-owned businesses, all the advice we share is based on an understanding of the specific organization and commissioned by its leader. We also embrace the diversity of our team, so we can compare women-owned businesses with our peers who can understand the obstacles and struggles they face.

While innovation will be a key driver of growth, it will be the pooling of knowledge and experience between colleagues that will help support women entrepreneurs in our region.

Yorkshire and the Humber is a great place to live and work and we will continue to stand by business and support women and their innovative ideas to help the region thrive for generations to come.

Read the Women Entrepreneurs: A Northern Perspective report here.


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