Female business owners and decision makers from 14 leading businesses in Lancashire have joined forces to take part in a 12-month support programme backed by Lancashire County Council to help prepare their organisations for rapid growth.
Women Scaling Up was launched by Two Zero, Lancashire County Council’s scaleup support service, in September 2022 in response to a landmark report published about the barriers faced by women leading businesses in Lancashire. The programme ran until April 2023.
This second cohort follows the success of the initial programme and continued demand for the female-focused support and will take place over a full year.
The programme includes tailored coaching and peer group sessions designed to build participants’ resilience and leadership skills, along with in-depth business acumen. Those taking part in Women Scaling Up 2023 include Lancashire business owners and directors from a wide cross section of sectors including professional services, hospitality, health and wellbeing and manufacturing.
Participating businesses include PM+M Solutions, The Wellbeing Farm, Refined Marketing Agency, Innovative Food Ingredients, YOLO Wellbeing, Forward Thinking for Business and Burnley Youth Theatre.
Amin Vepari, programme manager, Two Zero, said: “We initially launched the Women Scaling Up programme last year following a Lancashire County Council report, Growing Women, Growing Lancashire, which highlighted the need for improved business support for women in business in the county.
“We received such strong and positive feedback from the participants of the initial programme it was an easy decision to continue to provide funding to help more female business leaders to scale. I am delighted that we have had such great response to the second cohort and are now able to support a further 14 Lancashire female business leaders.”
Women taking part in Women Scaling Up 2023 at one of the programme’s first gatherings, an overnight residential retreat focused on building resilience
Jane Dalton, director at Groundswell Innovation, took part in the programme last year.
She said: “During the programme you are accountable to other business owners and leaders, which is really powerful. It helps you to not only be positive about success but also be open and honest about barriers to growth and how you remove these.”
Daisy Whitehouse, managing director at Down At The Social, also took part in last year’s programme. She said: “There was such a variety of people in the group. Everyone’s experience and knowledge has been so useful, inspiring, and reassuring.
“If you are thinking of joining a future programme, go with an open mind, put as much in as you can into it to get the most out of it, and you will have a very positive experience.”
The 14 participants on the programme will receive 12 months of support, including strategic planning, profiling, boardroom masterclasses on key aspects of scaleup, executive coaching and a resilience retreat.
Delivered by Role, a Lancashire business growth consultancy which also co-authored the Growing Women, Growing Lancashire report, the programme includes an outdoor experiential half day with an emphasis on leadership skills, communications skills and goal setting.
The Women Scaling Up programme is two thirds funded by Lancashire County Council through Two Zero. Two Zero is a business support service for scaleup business leaders in Lancashire. Led by Lancashire County Council, its mission is to help Lancashire’s scaleup leaders learn, grow their business 20% and create jobs.