July 17, 2020 @ 17:15 by Chloe Holmes
A new project supporting 48 BME migrant women to start-up in business is launching in Newcastle and South Tyneside. The Engage and Excel programme is being delivered in partnership by the Women Empowering Women Network (WEWN) and PNE Group, after successfully securing funding from local councils.
Engage and Excel was created to help eliminate barriers to self-employment and professional progression faced by BME migrant and refugee women, by providing access to business start-up information, professional development and mentoring from successful women with similar backgrounds. It also will seek to create a cohort of role models to inspire the next generation of BME women entrepreneurs.
Participants on the programme will be paired with a mentor who has similar experiences of starting up a business after moving to the UK, as well as business start-up and skills workshops, one-to-one business advice, paid travel costs and funding for further learning.
The programme will be made available to as wide a range of women, regardless of their personal circumstances, level of qualification, geographical position, and access to finance. Central to the initiative is ensuring that there is equity for all whilst tailoring support the skills and ambitions of each individual.
Research has continuously established a lack of development opportunities helping BME women to build the skills and networks necessary to advance in their personal and professional lives. For example, in 2018, 9% of the region’s non-white population were unemployed, compared to a 5% regional average (UK Gov, 2018) and 73% of migrants reported being paid below the living wage (Northumbria University, 2017).
Shamiso Machaya, Founder of WEWN, commented, “We are very excited to launch the Engage and Excel programme. Through the programme we seek to address the lack of opportunities among BME women communities, empower BME women to pursue their ambitions and create new role models for the BME community.”
WEWN empowers BME migrant women in the North East, providing an opportunity for the women it works with to learn and understand how start a business and build their networks.
PNE have 40 years’ experience delivering innovative, impactful projects that generate business and job creation across the North East, helping over 10,000 businesses start-up in the region.