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FreelanceHER 100 programme returns for aspiring women entrepreneurs

An award-winning accelerator dedicated to supporting the entrepreneurial ambitions of 100 women freelancers will return to Greater Manchester in 2024 to help launch and grow new businesses in the region.

FreelanceHER 100, developed by IN4 Group, is a fully funded 6-week business accelerator that empowers aspiring women entrepreneurs to be strong leaders, create powerful enterprises, and influence and shape the world through their companies.

Based at HOST, the Home of Skills & Technology in MediaCity, FreelanceHER 100 offers a flexible online programme that can be easily accessed alongside daily 9-5 work and family commitments.

Now in its third phase, FreelanceHER 100 is open to anyone aged 16+ from Greater Manchester who self-identifies as a woman or non-binary, looking to join a supportive community of like-minded women with a desire to launch their own business, side hustle, or move into self-employment. For instance, this could be an opportunity for new mums to develop lifestyle businesses around family commitments.

Expert mentoring will be delivered by the UK’s best female micro-businesses and freelance professionals, including the former managing director of award-winning PR agency Pazang, author and digital marketing strategist Tanya Arturi; serial entrepreneur Allison Angel; careers consultant and business adviser Sandrine Beaunol; and Helen Tebay, a coach and mentor with over 20 years of sales experience.

They will provide a bespoke support programme of weekly workshops, networking, and peer mentoring to a community of potential entrepreneurs ready to learn the ropes of starting their own enterprises.

Alana Borkwood, Senior Programmes Manager for FreelanceHER 100, said: “Our mission is to continue building and supporting a diverse community of women to meet their business growth ambitions, providing them with the confidence, skills and ability to succeed.

“There’s a clear demand from women for access to a programme beyond the practicalities of freelancing; we’re creating a safe space for aspiring founders to explore entrepreneurial ideas, ask questions and discover the basics of starting up – whether that’s for a side hustle or full-blown business venture.”

The successful FreelanceHER programme has previously supported almost 200 creative female founders in growing and scaling their companies, and 100 per cent of participants from the second cohort reported a positive impact on their businesses.

According to the StartUp Ambition Report, the number of people thinking about starting a business in 2024 has risen to 35 per cent, an increase of five per cent from 2023. At the same time, the turnover expectations of female founders of full-time businesses in the first year were a staggering £10,000 lower than those of firms founded by men.

“Greater Manchester has brilliant networks in place to support women entrepreneurs, and by working collaboratively across public and private sectors, we can have greater impact across the region, driving economic growth in the North West,” Alana added.

FreelanceHER mentor Tanya Arturi said: “Greater Manchester has exceptional talent, and many women chose freelancing so they aren’t limited to defined roles, locations and schedules. However, starting your own business can be daunting and lonely; this programme provides a community of like-minded people who can collaborate and support each other. This is why I love this programme so much and wish it was around when I started my freelance journey!

“It’s exciting to think you can move a side hustle or skills and knowledge gained in the corporate world into a scalable business that you’re in control of; on top of this, the programme is delivered outside of work hours to get you started on your entrepreneurial journey.”

The founder of Attendist Chi-chi Ekweozor, who participated in the last cohort, said: “The FreelanceHER 100 experience is both hugely empowering and pragmatically practical. Learning with like-minded individuals means the enthusiasm and passion stays high, and it really feels like you are being given every reason to fly! There is some really valuable business support to be had as well.”

FreelanceHER 100 is funded by the £2.6bn UK Shared Prosperity Fund, the UK government’s commitment to levelling up all parts of the UK. The UK Shared Prosperity Fund aims to improve pride in place and increase life chances across the UK by investing in communities and places, supporting local businesses and providing opportunities to boost people and skills.

Recruitment is open throughout the year. To apply, visit:

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