Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Girl E-Show

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Girl E-Show

Article excerpt


One in three start-ups are run by women.

Alexandra Dawe looks at what help is on offer for the growing number of female entrepreneurs

FED up with lower pay, inflexible work and lack of creativity, an increasing amount of women are starting out in business. Last year they accounted for a third of all start-ups.

To encourage and support the growing number of women setting up their own businesses, there is a new breed of network and advice centres., which was the first website aimed specifically at female entrepreneurs, was founded in 1999 and now has more than 10,000 active members.

"When my partner Karen and I started our business we were frustrated by the lack of access to professional information at an affordable price," says Maxine Benson, the web site's cofounder.

"We wanted to create a onestopshop for women so that they did not have to spend months trying to find all the necessary information and resources."

The organisation works both on and offline with companies such as IBM, NatWest and BDO Stoy Hayward, who support the site.

It also has a free reference library and bulletin boards so that members can discuss the issues that are affecting their businesses.

It has recently developed a new service, esp, designed to give a range of start-up support, including legal advice, networking events, training and a business web site for a reasonable price, hosted by everywoman.

Amanda Galashan and Julie Calleux could have done with this help when starting up their employment law consultancy, EmployEase, in the City in 1994.

After completing Masters in law together, both decided they did not want to work for city law firms.

Although they both completed a BTEC course in 1994 - aimed at helping people start-up - and another course run by Hackney Business Venture, they found it hard.

"We had to root around local libraries and visit various agencies before we found the right help," says Galashan.

"We started really quickly so we had a bit of a shambolic first year, because we started to work before we knew how a business should run. …

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