Our corporate culture must become more gender-diverse

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I recently participated in the launch of the Welsh Government’s approach to Supporting Entrepreneurial Women, which was held in the offices of my employers, leading Welsh Law firm Capital Law.

Of the name badges laid out carefully on the reception desk, only three were not collected. Clearly many people were keen not to miss out on learning more about how their government was looking to support the entrepreneurial aims and ambitions of women in Wales. I was particularly delighted that the Minister for Economy and Transport, Ken Skates, was both able to attend and clearly be so supportive.

I have been part of the Expert Panel for this initiative for the past 18 months. The Panel (constituted in accordance with the REAP principles of Be The Spark, bringing together the representatives from government, academia, the third sector and the private sector) was borne out of an acknowledgment that encouraging, supporting and increasing women’s participation in entrepreneurship could have a positive impact on the economy of Wales – it would promote opportunity, tackle inequality and hopefully deliver individual and national prosperity.

As part of the review, the Panel commissioned the University of South Wales to conduct a small study with both women and business support organisations. This study aimed to establish both the barriers and challenges that women entrepreneurs are currently experiencing, as well as determining the current views and landscape of the business support provision in Wales.

The Panel also met with a number of organisations from my “community” – the corporate finance sector – and we were encouraged by the responsiveness to the issued raised.

Following our research, consultations and extensive discussions, the panel came up with 10 recommendations around how to target and engage more effectively with women entrepreneurs, and to tailor and promote support services to better meet their needs.