Well here’s some really exciting news!
This week, NatWest Bank launched a female-only crowdfunding programme ‘Back Her Business’ for women thinking about starting-up a business in the UK. This programme has been development together with Crowdfunder, a well established crowdfunding platform. The initiative is available UK-wide through NatWest in England and Wales, Ulster Bank in Northern Ireland and Royal Bank in Scotland.
Why is this deemed to be necessary?
Well, NatWest commissioned research into the psychological challenges facing females in business and one condition in particular came to the fore – Imposter Syndrome. This syndrome is where women in particular have a feeling of self-doubt, questioning accomplishments and competency. I believe this same Imposter Syndrome is also responsible for women not reaching the higher echelons of leadership in medium to large organisations.
I myself have also witnessed a lack of confidence when working with female entrepreneurs. It is this lack of self-belief, self-esteem and self-value which impacts their ability to start-up a business. Even if they manage to overcome the start-up hurdle, they often struggle to grow the business. They also struggle with pricing, often under-pricing their services, which impacts their profitability and long-term survival.
One only has to attend women-focused networking event to observe the ratio of micro-businesses to SMEs. It is a safe bet that the micros far outweigh the SMEs and scale-ups, compared with mixed gender networking events.
This is why part of my time is typically spent on building the confidence and self-belief of the women-business-owners / directors when coaching, mentoring and/or advising their businesses. This investment provides almost immediate returns and is time well-spent. It is also rewarding to observe the rapid change in attitude as the sessions progress, and to see the result of this work reflected in the bottom line.
Back Her Business is part of NatWest’s wider commitment to helping female entrepreneurs in any way it can. So great to see such an initiative in the market-place.