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Highlighting women's achievements

By Herald Express  |  Posted: May 23, 2012

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THE Herald Express Women of Achievement Awards 2012 will highlight the achievements of local women in business and the wider community, and celebrate their successes, according to one organisation that helps support women and other under-represented groups to start their own businesses.

Business start-up support programme, Outset Torbay, is one of the headline sponsors backing the prestigious awards.

The £1.8million European Regional Development Fund and Torbay Development Agency funded project provides free, practical business start-up support and coaching to people — including women, over-50s, 18 to 25 year olds and the long-term unemployed — interested in starting a new business in the Bay

Helen Harman, programme director for Outset Torbay, said: "The Women of Achievements Awards presents a fantastic opportunity for us to recognise and reward those women who have achieved great things in the workplace and in our local community, and in doing so, are inspiring our young women of the future.

"Fifty seven per cent of the new businesses Outset has supported have launched by women.

"This shows the huge entrepreneurial potential of women and the power that they have to lead the country's economic recovery."

Graphic designer Eleanor Stafford started her business, Designed By Eleanor, after being made redundant for the second time.

"The Outset programme has flagged up areas I hadn't previously considered and has helped me to build a great foundation for starting a successful business."

Hairdresser Becky Forte, 24, joined the Outset Torbay programme before going on to open her own salon, Forever Beautiful, in Torquay which now employs two staff and an apprentice.

"The support from Outset Torbay has been outstanding," said Becky.

Nominations are now being sought for the Herald Express Women of Achievement Awards which will take place at the Grand Hotel on July 6. Closing date for entries is Friday June 1.

The Outset Torbay programme welcomes inquiries from anyone in Torbay who would like to find out more about the business start-up support available to help them develop and launch a business idea — which includes women-only sessions with free crèche facility t

Outset Torbay will be running a free information session on Wednesday, May 23, at the Outset Torbay office in Abbey Road from 2pm to 3pm.

Call 0800 0322905, log on to www.outsettorbay.co.uk or email info@outsettorbay.co.uk.

The largest business community for women entrepreneurs has got behind the Herald Express Women of Achievement Awards in a bid to unlock the potential of local female entrepreneurs.

Enterprising Women, the national network of 8,500 women entrepreneurs will headline sponsor this year's awards.

Figures reveal only 15 per cent of the business community is led by female bosses , and many are 'still encountering barriers' from achieving their true potential — in making a 'significant contribution' to the local economy.

Enterprising Women has carried out its own in-depth research across the UK with female business owners who were 'stuck' in achieving their ambitions.

More than 220 women responded, to provide specific insights about their barriers to growth.

Claiming a total turnover of £47million at the time of responding, some had multi-million pound turnovers, some employed between 50-100 people.

All, however, had ambitious plans for growth, which, if those barriers were demolished, would represent a cumulative contribution of £232million of sales and the creation of more than 3,500 jobs.

The women responding to the survey were confident and determined, but they clearly needed specialist help to grow and succeed.

Enterprising Women has trained more than 3,000 existing women-owned businesses and helped more than 350 new businesses to start up, delivering a survival rate of more than 80 per cent after four years.

Sandy Eaton, director of Enterprising Women, said: "The importance of women's business has never been more relevant than in the current economic climate.

"We want to encourage the women of Torbay to enter the Woman of Achievement awards or to nominate fellow businesswomen to inspire the current and next generation of female entrepreneurs."

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