Hatch launches academy for women entrepreneurs and unveils two new programmes for BAME female founders
In a London first, business incubator Hatch Enterprise has today opened a brand new academy to support women entrepreneurs to achieve their business dreams.
The Female Founders Academy, launched in partnership with NatWest and BlackRock Gives, is a new ‘click-and-mortar’ academy in which a team of experts will work to support and equip women with the tools needed to build their own sustainable businesses, including at the critical start-up and business growth stages. The academy will deliver on-demand mentoring, educational workshops and financial coaching online, as well as a renewed offline curriculum. Hatch is now recruiting for its first two programmes: the BAME Female Founders LaunchPad for business at idea stage, and the BAME Female Founders Incubator for businesses that have already launched.
NatWest and BlackRock Gives are the first supporters of the Female Founders Academy, which builds on the work from Hatch’s inaugural business incubator programme for 20 BAME women, launched in October last year. Hatch is intending to work with a range of corporate partners to co-deliver the new programme to cast the net of support as widely as possible and offer market-leading training both on and offline. It has set itself a target of raising £1 million to support 10,000 women in business, in the hope that more corporate partners will join over the course of the year and help to redress the barriers that persist for women entering entrepreneurship.
In the past six years, Hatch has engaged more than 12,000 people with over 5,000 of those completing a programme or course. The businesses that have taken part in Hatch’s incubators and accelerators since 2013 have a combined turnover of £4,950,000 and have raised a total of £3,920,000 in investment funding. They have also created local jobs and hired 300 people in their local communities.
Neila Romdane, Marketing and Communication Officer at Hatch Enterprise, said: “We are very excited to launch the Female Founders Academy with NatWest and BlackRock Gives. There is a huge opportunity to do something practical right now to support women who are entering the unknown and starting their own businesses. The idea for the academy came from our work with more than 200 female founders over the years – everyone we spoke to wanted a programme that provides that crucial, continual coaching but is also flexible enough to work around diverse schedules and needs. Thanks to the help from our corporate partners, we’ve been able to curate amazing content and build on our existing curriculum and resources to offer something truly unique in London, and that is also accessible online from anywhere.”
Rachel Blackamore, chair of the London and South East Board at NatWest, said: “NatWest is a huge supporter of small-to-medium businesses and we know from experience that everyone benefits when businesses are as diverse as the communities they operate in. To that end, we are thrilled to continue our support of Hatch and its good work helping women to build the skills, networks, and resilience necessary to succeed in the long term. The feedback we have received from Hatch’s previous programmes really bring home the impact on individuals and the wider community, and we can’t wait to see what incredible businesses the new cohort of female founders will establish.”
Hatch Enterprise is a business incubator that works primarily with entrepreneurs from groups that are under-represented in business, for example, women and the BAME community.
Hatch CEO, Dirk Bischof, said this latest initiative will be vital to helping BAME women with the skills to negotiate financing for their businesses: “’Currently, key issues holding back female founders are information and training gaps, access to professional networks, competing demands on time (especially caring but also work commitments). One of the biggest stumbling blocks, however, for women who are running a business that already employs people and is looking to grow, is access to finance. There are extremely talented women entrepreneurs in the tech and other sectors including FMCG, retail and hospitality, who are building businesses but are unable to secure the right type of finance to help them grow – the Female Founders Academy is about delivering practical skills to navigate the angel investment and VC sector with the aim of widening it up and making it more accessible and inclusive.”
In the UK, just 22 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses are majority women-owned (FSB, 2018). That figure shrinks to just 1 per cent of all UK SMEs that are run by a BAME female founder.
This is despite research from McKinsey & Co, which has shown that “companies with the greatest gender diversity on their executive teams are 21 per cent more likely to outperform peers on profitability and 27 per cent more likely to create superior value.” In addition, research shows that “women are as successful as men in sustaining a business once established” (Rose Review, 2019).
Deloitte (2016) estimates targeted help for female founders could “provide a £100bn boost to the economy over the next ten years”, and the Rose Review puts this number at £250bn looking at the combined value of scaling existing women-led businesses and encouraging new businesses.