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Following a highly successful first event in 2022, which attracted female entrepreneurs from various backgrounds and sectors, including electronic vehicles, fintech, health tech, app development and educational tools, the Women’s Entrepreneurs Workout is again open for applications. The timing coincides with the lead-up to International Women’s Day, which takes place on 8 March and is this year themed on inspiring inclusion, which is at the heart of this event’s aims.
The programme content takes founders on a deep dive into their business model, value proposition, customer segmentation, channels for winning customers, and revenue streams, helping build a strong foundation for a profitable and successful business. It’s designed to be very practical and hands-on, with participants putting theory into practice on their own business concepts. It culminates in the opportunity for founders to pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts, providing valuable, objective feedback on their business or proposal.
Participating in this two-day event could also be the springboard to join the Science Park’s well-established Catalyst business accelerator; a fully-funded, six-month business support programme which begins each year in September. Here, attendees benefit from world-class mentoring, workshop-style learning, and being part of the innovation community at the Science Park for the duration.
The University of Southampton is a member of the highly successful SETsquared Partnership of universities in the South and South West. SETsquared provides business and innovation support to tech start-ups and scale-ups and has helped its members raise £4.4bn since 2002. SETsquared will deliver this training alongside the team at Southampton Science Park so that participants benefit from a range of experienced trainers and mentors.
Serena Giaminardi, Head of Programmes and Investment, SETsquared, says: “Research shows that a record number of businesses were incorporated in the UK by female founders in 2023 – over 160,000.* Whilst this is fantastic news for female entrepreneurship, we also know that all-female-founded businesses in the UK receive only 2% of equity investment, a figure which hasn’t improved since 2011. We want to start closing this gap. We are passionate about supporting female founders and believe that budding entrepreneurs from any background should not face barriers to starting a business. We’re here to support them to get the backing and finance they need to thrive.”
Robin Chave, CEO of Southampton Science Park, commented: “We are really looking forward to welcoming another group of talented women to the Science Park in March for our female-focused Entrepreneurs Workout. The atmosphere of last year’s programme was warm, fun, and relaxed, with participants leaving clearly feeling inspired to take their ideas or established businesses forward. If you have an idea or are already running an early-stage business, we urge you to apply. It’s an opportunity to test and validate your business plan, gaining lots of objective feedback from experienced mentors who have no other agenda than to help you succeed.”
The feedback from last year’s cohort was very encouraging, including “absolutely brilliant, loved being able to learn about the business model canvas, and the networking has been priceless” and “I felt more inclined to apply because it was an all-female programme. It felt like a safe space to share” and “being an all-female programme didn’t make me more inclined to apply, but it was the most positive outcome. We had a shared understanding of balancing work, business, and life.”
The Women’s Entrepreneurs Workout is fully funded by the University of Southampton Science Park. You can apply if you have a tech, science or innovation idea that could become a business, are a sole trader, or already run an early-stage innovation-led business, not-for-profit or social venture. We encourage applications from women from all backgrounds, including ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+, and women with disabilities.Register for the Women’s Entrepreneurs Workout
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