Earlier this month, the Coronavirus spread at an alarming rate, causing disruption for families, friends and organisations throughout the world.
Overnight we saw thousands of establishments close without warning and a loss of business across each industry.
We asked for our members help. We wanted to know what support was needed during these unprecedented times and what the Government could to do support each individual. During this time we conducted rigorous qualitative and quantitative research which found more than 50% of you would like weekly updates, webinars and activities to support your mental well-being (all of which will be introduced within Women in Business' schedule in coming weeks). However when asked about Government support and topics you would like further information on one key theme emerged:
49% of you need more information about access to Business & Financial Support
62% of you stated the Government need to provide more financial support for self-employed.
As the backbone of the Northern Irish Economy, the future of small businesses is very uncertain and challenging due to the current economic climate as a result of COVID-19. In addition to this concern, the extra burden that women carry due to caring responsibilities adds even further to the pressure faced by female entrepreneurs. Following a very successful Year 1 launch of our female entrepreneurs programme Yes You Can last year it would be remiss of the government to forget about all those women we encouraged to start up their businesses.
We have seen the introduction of the Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Self-employment Income Support Scheme, however there is an alarming gap in support for new entrepreneurs.
With this in mind Women in Business want the government to commit to a post Covid 19 'Start Up Again Grant Fund'.
Now, more than ever before, we need to encourage women who have taken the step to become entrepreneurs, that they can succeed with the support of others and not to lose their vision.
If you are a female entrepreneur, or know someone who has recently started their own business, help us create an impact and encourage the Government to support new female entrepreneurs.
Whether you are furloughed, working from home or facing different challenges in your business, please do keep in touch, share your stories and let us know how you are getting on.
Review the key findings and next steps for Women in Business HERE