Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Start up founder from the East Midlands offers insight to aspiring women entrepreneurs

Start up founder from the East Midlands offers insight to aspiring women entrepreneurs

Only one in five businesses in the UK is run by a woman.

  • Start Up Loans recipient from the East Midlands reflects on the challenges women face and provides advice to others considering launching a business 
  • Since 2012, Start Up Loans has delivered 2,075 loans to women entrepreneurs in the East Midlands, providing over £16m of funding

Access and awareness of funding, as well as family responsibilities, are often listed as top reasons that prevent women from making the decision to work towards becoming successful business owners.

Since 2012, the government backed Start Up Loans programme has delivered 36,446 loans and provided over £306m of funding to women-led businesses. This accounts for around 40% of the programme’s total delivery, around double the level of women business ownership in the UK.

Of these, 2,075 loans worth £16m went to women in the East Midlands. One of the businesses to receive a loan was Shahjee’s – a family run restaurant and take-away in Nottingham, run by three women founders, Farzana Ali Choudhry, Kiran Hassan and Mariam Siddiqua. 

They share the challenges she faced on her entrepreneurship journey and offers tips to women who might be considering starting a business of their own.

Kiran Hassan, Managing Director of Shahjees, said:

“All our directors and staff are women except one male employee and our workforce is extremely important to us as people make the business. We aspire to reward our staff more in the future as the business grows and we are also considering offering small shares in the company to increase motivation.

“For any woman thinking of launching their business, my advice would be there is no better time than now. Try and create something unique or have a competitive advantage such as our ‘chaat’ which is a menu item not otherwise widely available in Nottingham, it's all about having that edge.”

Richard Bearman, Managing Director of Start-Up Loans, said:

“I am very proud that Start Up Loans has provided more than £300m of funding to women entrepreneurs around the UK. No matter your gender, one of the keys to starting a business is having the encouragement and support to do so. As we approach International Women’s Day, it’s always fantastic to see our women business owners speaking up to inspire others to navigate the challenges and ultimately reap the benefits of being their own boss.” 

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