In 2020, COVID arrived and everything changed. Businesses have closed, many struggled to adapt and sustain themselves, and many are still vulnerable. Redundancies and high unemployment continues to affect our communities. Women have been disproportionately affected and whilst many have responded creatively and positively, many have lost their jobs, have juggled increased family responsibilities during COVID and been emotionally and economically disempowered.
What About Women was born out of a response to the pandemic. We are four self -employed women from Sheffield who came together because we want to make a difference.
We are women who’ve worked in education and training, coaching and therapy, accountancy, management consultancy and in the heart of communities. We are women who’ve run our own small businesses in Sheffield. We are women who will bring together our professional experience and our entrepreneurial journeys over the past 12 years.
We are women who want to make a difference, and as 2021 fast approaches the uncertainty of ’the next chapter’ remains. Our government talks about ‘levelling up’ our communities, but women already begin their entrepreneurial journey in deficit. Women deserve equity, and will play a central role in Sheffield’s recovery, and the UK economy.
As the Alison Rose Review asserts, the ‘potential economic contribution of women’ is not being realised because women face far more barriers than their male counterparts. Be that access to funding, cultural beliefs and values or familial responsibilities, women are being held back.
What About Women is a new social enterprise that aims to do things differently. And well, there has never been a time that we need to do things differently.
We aim to run projects that enable women in business to succeed. We want to build a female network of support in the SCR that is both real, and digitised. We will work with female solo workers, homeworkers, micro businesses and SMEs and invest in women entrepreneurs through personal development, training, coaching and mentoring. Our first project ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Women’ will form the building blocks of this support. We want to employ local women from the wealth of communities that this region offers. Women will be our clients, our consultants, our stakeholders and our expertise.
What about women doing things differently? If we were able to stand on the shoulders of other women entrepreneurs, imagine the possibilities...
We could start up, support and sustain women through a women centred local network. We could be giants. The time is now.