28th September 2020

Women entrepreneurs can gain superfast success

The Connecting Devon and Somerset (CDS) programme has won £75,000 in a successful bid to help women start and develop their own businesses using superfast broadband.

The CDS team secured the funding after a bid to the Women and Broadband Challenge Fund that was announced in May by the Minister for Women Nicky Morgan who was also made Education Secretary in the last Cabinet reshuffle.

Due to start in September 2014, the scheme will support women particularly in rural areas, looking to start up their own businesses or wishing to grow existing businesses and equip them with the latest digital skills needed to succeed.

Amongst the activities available will be business clubs offering peer to peer support, mentoring, digital clinics and plenty of networking opportunities and events. 

CDS will be delivering these activities in conjunction with its ‘Get Up to Speed’ programme that delivers business and community support to maximize the use of superfast broadband alongside the infrastructure roll out.

According to the Women’s Business Council some 2.4 million women across the UK want to be in work and a further 1.3 million would like more hours. Their report, published in June 2013 also found that there could be an extra one million female entrepreneurs if women started businesses at the same rates as men.

CDS aims to encourage women to use digital technologies to ensure that women have the tools they need to make this step.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter, Cabinet Member for Economy and Growth for Devon County Council, said: “Devon and Somerset are characteristically entrepreneurial, being counties where small businesses are the lifeblood of the rural economy. For many women, running their own business has become a good option and digital technology is the key to unlocking a new way of working. This scheme will ensure that women in rural areas will be able to access the same business support as their urban counterparts.”

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council, said: “Having access to superfast broadband is one of the key factors determining business growth, which is why Connecting Devon and Somerset is working hard to bring the technology to rural areas, Many women in our rural communities are already running their own businesses. Through this scheme they and others considering starting up on their own will be able to use the latest digital technology to access new markets and improve competitiveness.” 

According to the Ofcom European Broadband Scorecard 2014, the UK now leads the top five EU Member States for broadband and mobile coverage, take up and usage. 

More information on Connecting Devon and Somerset can be found at the website: www.connectingdevonandsomerset.co.uk