Women in Tech

Women’s entrepreneurs programme, Southampton Science Park

26th January 2024
Paige West

Female entrepreneurs in the science, digital, and technology sectors from the South are invited to participate in a women-only business support event at the University of Southampton Science Park on 6th and 7th March.

This follows the inaugural event in 2022, which drew participants from diverse sectors like electronic vehicles, fin tech, health tech, app development, and educational tools. The Women’s Entrepreneurs Workout, scheduled around International Women’s Day on 8th March, is now open for applications. This year's theme, inspiring inclusion, resonates with the event's objectives.

The initiative offers an in-depth exploration of various business aspects, including business models, value propositions, customer segmentation, methods for acquiring customers, and revenue streams. Designed for practical application, it allows participants to apply theories directly to their business ideas. The event culminates in founders presenting their business concepts to a panel of experts, who provide valuable feedback.

Attendees of this event may also have the opportunity to join the Science Park’s Catalyst business accelerator, a comprehensive six-month programme starting each September. This programme includes mentoring, workshop-style learning, and integration into the Science Park’s innovation community.

The University of Southampton is part of the SETsquared Partnership, a collaboration of universities in the South and South West providing support to tech startups and scaleups. Since 2002, SETsquared has assisted its members in raising £4.4bn. SETsquared will co-deliver this training with Southampton Science Park’s team, offering participants access to a range of experienced trainers and mentors.

Serena Giaminardi, Head of Programmes and Investment at SETsquared, stated: “Research shows that a record number of businesses were incorporated in the UK by female founders in 2023 – over 160,000. While this is fantastic news for female entrepreneurship, we also know that all-female-founded businesses in the UK receive only 2% of equity investment, a figure which hasn’t improved since 2011. We want to start closing this gap. We are passionate about supporting female founders and believe that budding entrepreneurs from any background should not face barriers to starting a business. We’re here to support them to get the backing and finance they need to thrive.”

Robin Chave, CEO of Southampton Science Park, commented: “We are really looking forward to welcoming another group of talented women to the Science Park in March for our female-focused Entrepreneurs Workout. The atmosphere of last year’s programme was warm, fun, and relaxed, with participants leaving clearly feeling inspired to take their ideas or established businesses forward. If you have an idea or are already running an early-stage business, we urge you to apply. It’s an opportunity to test and validate your business plan, gaining lots of objective feedback from experienced mentors who have no other agenda than to help you succeed.”

The feedback from the previous event was overwhelmingly positive, with participants appreciating the learning opportunities, networking, and the safe, supportive environment of an all-female programme.

The Women’s Entrepreneurs Workout is fully funded by the University of Southampton Science Park. Applications are encouraged from women of all backgrounds, including ethnic minorities, LGBTQIA+, and women with disabilities. To apply, please visit: https://www.setsquared.co.uk/programme/womens-entrepreneurs-workout/ (closing date 28th February).

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