Guest blog from NatWest: Encouraging young women to Dream Bigger

We caught up with this month’s guest blogger, Angus Taylor who is an Entrepreneur Education Graduate at NatWest to talk us through their new Dream Bigger project. 

Did you know that only 1 in 3 entrepreneurs in the UK are female?

It’s a bit shocking, isn’t it? The UK is the start-up capital of Europe, attracting more venture capital than any other European country, yet only 5.6% of UK women run their own business. Compare this to 15% in Canada, nearly 11% in the US and over 9% in Australia and the Netherlands and it’s clear we have a way to go.

But why is that?

In 2019, NatWest Group CEO Alison Rose was commissioned by UK Government to conduct a review of female entrepreneurship. The Rose Review uncovered some of the key barriers to female entrepreneurship, such as access to funding and perception of skills.

The prize for overcoming these barriers is high; Rose found that boosting female entrepreneurship could add £250bn to the UK economy. She suggested several initiatives which could help change this landscape, including:

  • Support from private investors
  • The expansion of mentoring and networking opportunities
  • Accelerating the rollout of entrepreneurial courses to schools and colleges

Why are schools important?

Alison said it best:

“Introducing entrepreneurship in schools increases awareness among young women and men increasing their confidence to one day start a business.”

By embedding entrepreneurial education in the curriculum across the UK, we can drive confidence in preparation for the future world of work and increase the percentage of young women who intend to start a business.

In doing so, we also develop future skills and capabilities in our young women, increasing confidence and resilience across the board. By building capability and self-awareness, we can inspire the businesswomen of tomorrow to take action today.

How can we do it?

How do we equip young women with the right skills and behaviours to excel in an historically unwelcoming environment?

One key point is mindset. Taking lessons from successful entrepreneurs, we can identify important attitudes which consistently drive them forward:

  • Learning from failure (seeing it as an essential part of the process)
  • Embracing challenge (falling in love with the problem, not the solution)
  • Asking for feedback (seeking and acting on it at every opportunity)
  • Having a clear vision (being focused on your goals and knowing how to achieve them)
  • Leading and motivating those around you (and inspiring others to do the same)

Successful entrepreneurs adopt a growth mindset – the belief that their talents can be shaped and developed through hard work and continuous improvement. They build a skill or product, measure its success against their expectations and learn from their failures, using lessons to gain a competitive advantage.

Great entrepreneurs also have a deep understanding of their purpose – they know why they do what they do. Having a clear purpose keeps entrepreneurs motivated to achieve their goals, helping them stay resilient when facing challenging situations. Tips for understanding your “why” include:

  • Identifying ways to make other people’s lives better
  • Thinking about activities that make you forget about the passage of time
  • Listening to others when they say you’re good at something
  • Embracing your passion – what would you do for free if the paycheck didn’t matter?

Want to learn more?

Dream Bigger is a fully funded programme focused on developing transferrable entrepreneurial skills in 16-18-year-olds across the UK. We deliver three virtual workshops on:

  1. Introducing Entrepreneurship
  2. Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset
  3. Defining Entrepreneurial Purpose

The 1-hour interactive sessions run via Zoom or Microsoft Teams at a time to fit your timetabling needs, and some of our sessions are also available as a pre-recorded virtual class. Both options come accompanied by handbooks (digital or printed) to be completed by students over the course of the class. Contact us here if you’re interested in making a booking.

We also run full- and half-day live workshops in schools and our Accelerator Hubs across the UK. The live workshops delve deeper into these concepts and more, including communication and self-awareness. We aim to resume these sessions in the New Year. Click here to register your interest or find out more.

Click below to access the Accelerator Hubs, or to register your interest.