Digital boost for women-led businesses

Women across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough are being offered extra help to grow or set up their own businesses by gaining digital skills and taking up faster broadband.

Connecting Cambridgeshire has been awarded a further £49,300 funding from the Government Equalities Office to continue providing practical help for women-led businesses and female entrepreneurs to make the most of technology through its Destination Digital project.

The Women and Broadband Challenge Fund award will be used to launch a county-wide roadshow this autumn offering drop-in clinics with digital advice and training for women who want to run their own businesses or to work more flexibly. It will also help businesswomen get better broadband to support their work.

Destination Digital has already helped hundreds of businesses get grants and advice to improve their broadband connections and use digital technology. It has provided digital training courses, helped women to return to work, join business networks and attend events, as well as supporting business networks.

The project is working closely with local councils, the Chamber of Commerce and business organisations to highlight digital opportunities for businesses. Read the news release here

Women and Broadband Case Study – The Penelope Club

The Penelope Club is a new style of business network for women, which was launched last year with the support of Destination Digital. Based in Wisbech, the network aims to help women run their own business and incrIMG_3289ease their digital skills.

It has been set up by Lorena Hodgson, who founded Red Barn Creative, a not-for-profit organisation to support and encourage creative people to be independent business owners.

Lorena’s vision was to start a non-traditional women’s business club to help increase confidence levels by creating a regular space to collaborate and share expertise. She also wanted to show local women how easy digital networking and creating an online presence can be.

With Lorena’s guidance, early members created a website and social media presence for the club, which helped them to learn the necessary skills to then use for their own businesses.

The Penelope Club is going strong with growing numbers of women from the Fenland area attending regular sessions, often with speakers on business and digital skills.

Lorena said: “The local networks are not attractive to local business women, because of the hours they work, the style of events or simply the structure of the clubs available. Digital skills are needed for women in business to help them become fully engaged with the digital world and how it can help their companies.”

Find out more at www.redbarncreative.org/digital/the-penelope-club/