100 Greater Manchester women to be given business support to kickstart freelance career

Date published: 20 December 2020

A new accelerator will help to kick-start the entrepreneurial careers of 100 women who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic by giving them access to the skills, self-belief and confidence to pursue their ambitions as a freelancer or start-up business.

The FreelanceHER 100 programme will specifically focus on women for whom Covid has resulted in a career break and now a catalyst to entrepreneurship as well mothers seeking to return to economic activity and will also encourage applicants from the BAME community (Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic).

Women from across the 10 Greater Manchester districts will have the opportunity to apply for the scheme, which will be delivered online while weekly sessions will also ensure flexibility around work and childcare commitments.  

The fully-funded three-month accelerator has been developed by IN4.0 with The Landing – the MediaCityUK-based digital innovation hub – to empower women working in digital, creative, media and technology to meet their business needs and growth ambitions.

On successfully completing the programme, the 100 freelancers will be offered 12 months’ business co-working space at Arrive in MediaCityUK and innovation hub membership starting at £99 per month.

FreelanceHER 100 will support participants to test and build their business ideas or freelancer service as well as develop knowledge and skills in business modelling, product development, finance, communication, and business development.

The programme will work with specialist partners, female entrepreneurs and industry experts giving participants access to a wide range of networks and a supportive community of female founders and mentors.

IN4.0 with The Landing has appointed leading digital and tech stalwart Naomi Timperley, who will lead FreelanceHER 100 as programme director.

Naomi is well known in the UK’s tech scene as co-founder of Tech North Advocates, a support system for helping start-ups and scale-ups with promotion, investment, and new talent.

She was also named Computer Weekly Most Influential Women in UK Technology 2020.

Naomi said: “This is a first of its kind groundbreaking accelerator for women and led by women, creating an opportunity for 100 female freelancers to thrive in these challenging times. 

“We want to empower female freelancers to be strong leaders, to create powerful enterprises and to influence and shape the world through their companies, using collaboration, community, and innovation.”

During the practical and bespoke programme, participants will have access to weekly workshops and peer to peer mentoring led by experts including Tina Boden, co-founder of #MicroBizMatters Day & Micro Business Expert, and Sarah Townsend, author of Survival Skills for Freelancers.

FreelanceHER 100 ambassadors will include Rose Marley, CEO – Sharpe Futures & Cooperatives UK, Beena Puri, Innovation & Partnerships Lead at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority, and Annette Joseph, CEO of Diverse & Equal and former Co-op Digital Delivery Manager.

Naomi added: “We want to support diverse women who have the skills to launch and lead businesses in multiple markets from idea to validation to funding readiness.

“We will ensure they can do this in a safe environment that is flexible and authentic so that after 12 weeks they have the confidence and ability to build and grow their business.”

National figures show how the pandemic has disproportionately impacted women from the slowing down of the economy.

Research conducted by the UK’s Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has shown that women are around one third more likely to work in a job sector that has been shut down due to the pandemic, such as the hair and beauty sector, retail and hospitality.

FreelanceHER 100 will launch on 8 January to coincide with #MicroBizMatters Day.

Entries are open from 24 November 2020. Deadline for application is 31 December 2020.

To apply visit: www.thelanding.org.uk/freelanceher100/

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