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Northumbria is supporting female entrepreneurs!

Northumbria University’s free start-up support service, Student and Graduate Enterprise, ranked first in the UK for graduate start-ups* is on a mission not only to support more students and graduates to engage in enterprise and/or become their own boss, but more specifically provide expertise, opportunities and support to female entrepreneurs.Female Enterprise Weekend

Research by the Women’s Business Council has shown that the UK economy is missing out on more than 1.2 million new enterprises due to the untapped potential of women and how important female entrepreneurship is to the UK’s economy (Women’s Business Council: Maximising women’s contribution to future economic growth - two years on, July 2015). One of the aims of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) project Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support is to boost the number of female entrepreneurs in the North East as well as engage more female students in enterprising activity.

The Student and Graduate Enterprise team has been focusing on raising awareness of support through increasing visibility on campus including regular drop-in sessions across different University locations, providing access to other business support agencies across the North East in areas including funding and business growth through free networking events on campus and actively taking part in celebratory events such as Women’s Entrepreneurship Day and International Women’s Day.

We strongly believe in using positive female entrepreneurs as role models in our communications to inspire more female students and graduates and also to demonstrate that entrepreneurship is a viable career option, whether this is through self-employment or setting up a limited company. Our successful Northumbria student and graduate female entrepreneur role models represent women who start companies and have made a name in their sector, female entrepreneurs who set out as a sole trader but are realising the growth potential of their business to those who run lifestyle businesses.

The Student and Graduate Enterprise team has seen a significant increase in the number of enquiries this academic year, thanks to the ERDF Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support Project, leading to more female students and graduates attending enterprise events and subsequently, interested in starting their own business and becoming aware of the free support on offer to them. The team is currently working with a cohort of female graduates who have successfully applied for the Graduate Entrepreneur Visa that allows them to start a business in the UK. Having worked through their business idea and helped to develop it further, the team will also create bespoke mentoring sessions with industry experts to help kick start their businesses, giving them the best chance of success. Northumbria University has mentors in areas such as sales and marketing, business growth and legal who can offer advice as well as tangible support such as drafting T&Cs and drawing up employment contracts.

Northumbria alumna Lucia Tsoi (first on the left), Co-Founder of Pop Up Wok, a Hong Kong street food business said:

"The support so far has been great. We can have regular catch-ups with the team even if it’s just to talk things through and being able to access experts in areas such as marketing is really valuable as I have little experience in this area.”

If you graduated within the last five years and you are interested in starting your own business or becoming self-employed, get in touch with the team or visit to see what free start-up support you can access including mentoring and office accommodation in Newcastle city centre (T&Cs apply).

For more information on the Northumbria Enterprise and Business Support Project and for graduate job opportunities in the North East please visit


*HEBCIS 2015/16

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