To celebrate National Mentoring Day today, Santander has launched the breakthrough Women in Business (WiB) Programme, a mentoring scheme for the next generation of female UK entrepreneurs in association with the award-winning social enterprise Cause4. The launch follows on from the huge success of Santander’s Women in Breakthrough mentoring programme in 2015.
The Women in Business Programme 2017 will support 30 female entrepreneurs and match them with female mentors who themselves are running successful businesses with multi-million pound revenues. To be eligible for the programme, entrepreneurs must:
- be the majority shareholder of a business, with an annual turnover of between £250,000 and £6 million;
- have been trading for at least three years;
- employ between five and 40 individuals; and
- be capable of scaling up their business idea and boosting local employment.
The deadline for mentoring applications is 8 December 2016. Applicants will be told by 23 December 2016 if they have been accepted onto the programme. The mentoring will run between January and June 2017.
Santander Breakthrough is an award-winning suite of products and services to help ambitious businesses grow and prosper. There are five pillars to Breakthrough – access to talent, support with international success, connections events, knowledge masterclasses, and access to finance.
Cause4 works in partnership with corporations, charities and people to develop charitable projects and create new business models, as well as raise vital funds working across the charity, arts, sports and education sectors. Since being set up in May 2009, Cause4 has raised more than £46 million for clients and is committed to helping attract the best graduate talent to work on some of the charitable sector’s most pressing issues.
Alongside the mentoring programme, Santander and Cause4 hosted Breakthrough WiB networking events in Exeter, Manchester and Glasgow in October to support female entrepreneurship. Further events are planned for Birmingham (17 November) and London (30 November) – speakers for the event in Birmingham include Justice Williams, MBE, Founder of Women Who and the West Midlands Women of the Year Awards; Stephanie Chamberlain, CEO and Founder, Magic Milestones; and Michelle Wright, Founder and CEO, B-Corp and Social Enterprise Cause4.
Sue Douthwaite, Managing Director of Santander Business said: “We are delighted to be running the Breakthrough Women in Business Programme in partnership with Cause4. This dedicated initiative is one of the most comprehensive programmes of its type and offers real value to the selected entrepreneurs. The Women and Work Commission found that unleashing women’s full potential could be worth £23 billion a year to the Exchequer but that only 4% of women are engaged in entrepreneurial activity compared to 9% of men – we are focused on addressing this shortfall.’’
Michelle Wright, Chief Executive of Cause4 said: “Female entrepreneurs are a vital part of the UK’s SME business community. This programme from Santander Breakthrough is of huge importance in bringing together female entrepreneurs across the country to share experiences and to learn from each other. But also to inspire the next generation of female founders through the mentoring programme, which is led by 30 of the country’s leading female entrepreneurs who are all committing their experience and time free of charge to support other female founders to build successful growth businesses.”