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Social enterprise launched in Sheffield to help women in business thrive.

A new social enterprise to address issues of inequalities and remove barriers for women in business has been launched in Sheffield.

What About Women (WAW) has been set up to help women in business through the Covid crisis. The organisation is inviting any woman who has a business or is interested in starting a business to become a member and join their community.

The organisation has been busy behind the scenes for the past few months talking to other businesses, women and organisations in Sheffield. Today marks the official launch of their website …

Martha Brown, of The Forge Bakehouse on Abbeydale Road, said: “I think it’s the right time to offer businesses support but importantly women in business.

I’ve always felt quite isolated and I don’t have lots of relationships with other local indies which are predominately male or even in the wider baking community where female owners are pretty scarce. The friendships I have developed are with other women”.

The team behind What About Women are four successful business owners – Janine Morton, Bali Maman, Trudi Colman and Justine Twigge.

Janine is involved in the Sheffield music and entertainment industry, especially Tramlines.

Bali Maman runs Fancy an Indian?, her Indian street food business served from a converted ice cream van, whilst Trudi Colman and Justine Twigge run urban venue ‘The Hide’ or ‘Homemade’ in Nether Edge or their delightful French Citroen H vans – Percy and Lily’s.

Between them they have many years of experience in setting up and running successful businesses and now want to share what they’ve learned with others.

A report presented to Sheffield councillors showed how the pandemic has exposed inequalities for those working part-time, as self-employed or in the gig economy. Women are more likely to work in health and social care roles and mothers are more likely to have quit their job, lost their job or been furloughed.

There are 24,200 self-employed women in South Yorkshire according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The above article by Kate Mason first published on thestar.co.uk in Feb, 2021.