While businesses continue to search for ways to adapt and pivot to their ‘new normal’, social enterprise, Birmingham Enterprise Community (BEC), is rallying to support the budding careers of start-ups and scale-ups in the Midlands. Running its Startup Sprint programme, which equips 10 entrepreneurs with resources, skills, and advice to build their business, BEC has further extended support for underrepresented groups, by offering a number of female founders a free spot on the scheme.

The Female Founder Scholarships have been debuted, following stats from The Alison Rose Review, which revealed that only one in three businesses are established by women and that women are less likely to scale a business and receive equity funding – an already difficult task – than male counterparts – an area that BEC is keen to redress.

Not only have the BEC team created fully funded spaces on its programme but looked at ways to further nurture the female talent it finds.  Therefore, in addition to the provision already available on the Startup Sprint scheme, the scholars will also receive specialist support and mentoring from hand selected female mentors who have core knowledge in the barriers faced by female founders.

BEC – which has been running since 2018 – hopes that this new initiative will provide a greater chance for women across the region to grow their businesses, as well as begin to close the gender gap in recognition for funding in female-led companies.

The latest intake of entrepreneurs for the Startup Sprint programme is now underway and is open for anyone to apply regardless of gender. Three more places are still available for Female Founders Scholars to enrol. To find out more, visit

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