Begin: A free course for aspiring female entrepreneurs


Press Release 

Begin: A free course for aspiring female entrepreneurs 2024 

The UK’s top female entrepreneurs come together with Digital Boost and Buy Women Built to inspire and equip the next generation! 

Buy Women Built, a consumer movement shining light on female entrepreneurs and Digital Boost, a free online platform that offers personalised support to all start-ups and small businesses, together announce the launch of ‘Begin: A free course for aspiring female entrepreneurs’. 

The fully funded programme, open to any women in the UK, will address the challenges holding women back from starting businesses.  

An independent analysis of female entrepreneurship commissioned by the Treasury shows there are 30% fewer female entrepreneurs in the UK compared to the US. The research showed that if women started businesses at the same rate as in other developed countries we would add an extra £200 billion to the UK economy and create a stronger and fairer society.  

Karen Licurse, Managing Director of Digital Boost, says “We know that women are less likely than men to know other entrepreneurs, or have access to mentors or support networks. So while they may dream of starting a business, for many, it just doesn’t feel like a realistic or accessible path. We’re thrilled to join forces with Buy Women Built to change that, giving women the inspiration, confidence and practical support and tools they need to forge the path for themselves.”  

This is a new chapter for Digital Boost who, through their community of 4,000+ volunteer mentors and flexible learning programmes, have helped more than 9,000 business owners to date, 60% of whom identify as female.  

‘Begin’ is a highly interactive six-week programme that goes beyond theory and guides women step-by-step to turn their ideas into an actionable plan to start their business. They’ll work with a community of like-minded peers and get personalised support from Digital Boost’s mentors along the way. 

To inspire the participants, each step of the course will be supported by case studies and practical tips from founders of the UK’s top women built brands. These founders include names such as Thea Green, Nails Inc. Rene MacDonald, Lisou, Joanna Jensen, Childs Farm and Vivien Wong, Little Moons.  

Commenting on the value of Buy Women Built, Vivien from Little Moons says: “BWB is a wonderful community of cheerleaders who share much needed practical advice. I wish I had this when I was starting out.”  

Sahar Hashemi OBE, founder of Buy Women Built and formerly Coffee Republic and Skinny Candy said: “We believe women make great entrepreneurs, a lot of the natural feminine qualities lend themselves to the qualities you need to start a business…but what holds back women is the fear of leaping into the unknown.”  

“What better way to encourage the next generation, by not only giving them the process but the proof from those that have actually done it. We can’t close this gap until we change perceptions about what it means to be an entrepreneur – and inspire & enable more women to follow that path”. 

The course will be delivered entirely online so women can join from anywhere and work flexibly around other commitments. Replays and self-study will be available via the platform. 1:1 mentoring, events and support continue after the six weeks to help women turn their plans into reality.  

This programme is completely free for everyone thanks to the support of NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland, and the Scottish Government’s Pathways Pre-Start Fund.  

 James Holian, Managing Director, Business Banking & International Retail said: 

“As long standing supporters of Women in Business we understand the various challenges that women might face when setting up or running their business.  Our goal is to make a positive difference to women in business across the UK.   We are delighted to be part of a new collaboration with Digital Boost and Buy Women Built to launch a dedicated programme to support women to set up in business”.

It intends to reach at least 600 women this calendar year. Registration for the course opens on 19th February

Editor’s Notes: 

About the programme:  The course follows a unique, highly interactive structure: 

  • 6 weeks, delivered online to work around participants’ commitments 
  • 90-minute sessions each week, each focused on the steps to start a business 
  • Participants work on their real business ideas and begin to build a plan 
  • Pre-work and assignments in between sessions 
  • Participants work in small peer groups to give and get feedback & network 
  • Access to unlimited 1:1 mentoring and resources 
  • Ongoing mentoring, support and events after the 6 weeks to make their plan a reality 

About Digital Boost: Digital Boost’s mission is to make personalised, actionable support available to anyone who wants to start or grow a business, regardless of location, background or existing networks. Through the kindness of our community of 4,000+ friendly volunteer mentors and smart tech platform, we support any founder with unlimited 1:1 and group mentoring, access to specialised expertise, networking and actionable peer learning programmes. All our services are always free thanks to the support of partners like Mastercard’s Strive UK, Natwest Group, Bloomberg and BT.  

Digital Boost is 100% owned by the educational charity Founders4Schools, whose mission is to connect young people to relatable role models, inspiring them and opening their eyes to possible career paths, including entrepreneurship. | LinkedIn | Instagram  

About Buy Women Built: BWB is a consumer movement to shine a light on female founded brands, showing who they are and why buying from them creates a stronger, fairer economy to inspire future generations of women. The BUY WOMEN BUILT logo is a symbol of recognition for female founded brands. Through the symbol we aim to shape purchasing decisions and encourage conscious shopping decisions. The logo allows brands to commercially align with consumers who care about empowering women. Behind the movement, BWB has a community with over 1000 female founders of consumer brands with a combined turnover of £1.5 billion. | Instagram | LinkedIn  

About NatWest Group: NatWest Group is a relationship bank for a digital world. We champion potential; breaking down barriers and building financial confidence so the 19 million people, families and businesses we serve in communities throughout the UK and Ireland can rebuild and thrive. If our customers succeed, so will we.  NatWest Entrepreneur hub | NatWest Business | LinkedIn

BWB Brands delivering course content: 

  Thea Green   Nails Inc. 
  Chika Russell   Chika’s 
  Vanita Parti   Blink Brow Bar 
  Pauline Paterson   Dr. Paw Paw 
  Maxine Laceby   Absolute Collagen 
  Gem Misa   FullGreen 
  Joanna Jensen   Child’s Farm 
  Margaret Dabbs   Margaret Dabbs London 
  Sarah Chapman   Sarah Chapman Skinesis London 
  Joyce and Raissa de Haas   Double Dutch 
  Kate Prince   Ancient & Brave 
  Katie Lopes   Stripe & Stare 
  Pippa Murray   Pip & Nut 
  Lemon Fuller   Lemonade Dolls 
  Vivien Wong   Little Moons 
  Amanda Thompson   Noughty 
  Rene Macdonald    Lisou 
  Kim Innes   Humble Crumble 
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