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Government and Young Enterprise inspire the next generation of budding female entrepreneurs to turn their business dreams into a reality

A new initiative aimed at giving teams of budding female student entrepreneurs a taste of what it’s like to run their own business, was announced today by Equalities Minister Helen Grant.

The project will be run by Young Enterprise, who work with 250,000 young people each year, empowering them to develop key employability skills through enterprise. The ‘Women’s Start Up Project’ will be their first female focused programme aimed at giving students the skills to start up their own ventures and will focus on the tourism, hospitality and creative industries sectors.

With the creative industries worth a massive £71.4 billion annually to the UK economy and the tourism and hospitality sectors contributing around £53 billion a year, these sectors offer huge potential for women to start-up and grow their own businesses.

Helen Grant said:

“Our economy needs to see more women setting up and running their own businesses. The tourism and creative industries make a massive contribution to the country and women play major roles in these sectors. So it’s fantastic that this scheme will encourage young women taking their first steps in these industries to turn their business dreams into reality.

“Running your own business can be hugely rewarding, offering greater flexibility and financial independence. I am sure the ‘Women’s Start Up Project’ will be a great success.”

Michael Mercieca, Chief Executive of Young Enterprise said:

“The UK needs to empower more women to get into business. We see plenty of dynamic young women excelling on our school programmes and we’re delighted to be launching this project with the Government to further this.”

The partnership will see the Government providing funding of up to £50,000 for teams of 12 young women aged 19-24 studying at undergraduate level to set up and run real start-ups. The teams will be provided with initial start-up capital, a mentor from the industry in which they would like to work in and the opportunity to network with other inspirational entrepreneurs.


Notes to editors


  1. Young Enterprise is the United Kingdom’s largest business and enterprise education charity. Every year it helps 250,000 young people learn about business and the world of work in the classroom under the guidance of a network of 5,000 volunteers from 3,500 companies. To find out more:

2. Details of the new programme include:

  • 20 teams of women students (max. 12 per team) assuming all the roles necessary to make their business a success.
  • An inspirational launch with speakers, team building and speed networking sessions and mentoring matching.
  • The teams will be provided with a small amount of seed capital (£250 per team) to kick start their business.
  • Each team will be supported by Young Enterprise with online resources, business insurance and opportunities to trade as they grow and develop their business.
  • Each team will receive support from at least one Business Adviser (Mentor) drawn from their industry provided by Young Enterprise in conjunction with our partner organisations.
  • The project outcomes and outputs will be monitored with a full 360 degree evaluation and report at the conclusion of the project.


  1. At the end of the project, the students will be free to continue their business and will be referred to the Government’s Start-up Loans scheme for additional funding where appropriate.


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