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IWD: Putting black female entrepreneurs in the spotlight

PICTURED: Patsy Isles, Natalie Lue and Joy Francis (Photo credit: Charlie Herman)

IN CELEBRATION of International Women's Day, Digital Women UK and in partnership with Loughborough University London, they are putting black female creatives, techies and budding entrepreneurs centre stage on Saturday 10 March 2018.

Missing in Action: Tackling the myths of money, self care and the Imposter Syndrome is a professional development programme that offers up to 30 female creatives, budding and emerging entrepreneurs and women in tech, access to space, time and experts to reflect, problem solve and plan in a supportive environment.

As well as hearing from successful startups and entrepreneurs, participants will have access to skills building workshops and sessions on self care and the Imposter Syndrome.

Its second anniversary programme features media and publishing veteran and Kundalini Yoga specialist Patsy Isles, artist and psychoanalyst Philomena Francis, Natalie Lue, founder of Baggage Reclaim, Joy Francis, founder of Words of Colour Productions and co-founder of Digital Women UK, entrepreneurship lecturer and researcher Dr Angela Martinez Dy, Loughborough University of London, and innovative jewellery designer Mindy Kaur, founder of Eshqrock.

Joy Francis, co-founder of Digital Women UK, said: “Women of Colour aren’t visible or celebrated as leaders in creative and tech industries or as entrepreneurs, yet they are turning to tech and enterprise in increasing numbers and are driving significant cultural trends.

"Sadly, in the UK, research isn’t being done to reflect what we see anecdotally, unlike America where women of colour are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs but do not attract investment.

"What we do know from the UK is that women want role models. To that end, we are committed to creating cost-effective innovative programme to enable women to follow their dreams and be supported while we campaign for overdue research and funding to facilitate systemic change.”

Research by Digital Undivided based on 378 companies led by black women in the US, showed that for the 88 which qualified as startups, only 56 percent of the black women founders in the study raised external funding (on average $36,000) which is miniscule when compared to the industry-wide average of $1.3 million.

Dr Angela Martinez Dy, lecturer in entrepreneurship at Loughborough University London and Digital Women UK’s academic partner, commented: “Missing in Action aims to provide two integrated streams of support, both business and personal, for women creatives, techies and entrepreneurs, particularly those of colour, who are driving growth in the small business sector, yet continue to be underserved.

"This event, appropriately held for International Women’s Day, will offer skills support in a critically informed context that also considers external barriers and enablers to enterprise activity.”

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