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Female led agency clinches campaign to create more northern women entrepreneurs

Date 5 Mar 2007
Author The bgroup
The bgroup
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Female owned creative agency The bgroup is to show other women just how it's done after landing the contract to promote women’s enterprise across the North East, North West and Yorkshire from the government blueprint for regional economic growth, the Northern Way.

The Newcastle and London creative agency specialises in enterprise promotion and has to date created many high profile marketing campaigns to encourage business start up and growth including the campaign materials for national annual Enterprise Week 'Make your Mark' campaign for Enterprise Insight, 'Biz Idol' for Business Week Tyne and Wear and 'The Edge' competition for the South East England Development Agency.

This Northern Way initiative launches in March 2007 with an awareness campaign targeting a number of specific women groups to increase awareness of business start-up as a viable lifestyle and career choice, build confidence by providing access to relevant local role models and connect them to the support available to them in their area.

The bgroup’s directors’ experience as successful young female entrepreneurs personifies the campaign’s objectives as they are both passionate about being role models for other budding women business owners.

The growing agency is attracting billings of almost £1m in just six years and employing twenty design, digital and marketing staff across its two offices. Siobhan Bales, managing director is a board member for Business Link and Young Enterprise and was recently awarded the WIN best woman in technology accolade for her pioneering work to launch the region’s first internet TV business network, bdaily TV. Her 29 year old co-director Diane Gates is a board member of Women into the Network and regular on the enterprise speaking circuit.

"The key factor in increasing the UK’s business start up rates is getting more women to start their own business", said Gordon Brown, Chancellor of the Exchequer, June 2004.

According to the ONE Women’s Enterprise Strategy 7pc of women in the North East are economically active, relative to 77pc of men. In stark contrast to this relatively balanced picture, however, only 4.1% of females in employment in the region are self-employed, relative to 11.7% of men.

Di Gates, creative director of The bgroup said: "The focus is on leveling the playing field from a gender perspective, both in generating new women-owned businesses, and supporting the growth of those already out there. By far the best way to do this will be by highlighting the stories of others who have tried and succeeded."

Target groups for the campaign will be identified following consultation with support deliverers in each of the three Northern regions. A below-the-line marketing onslaught to follow will provide additional marketing support to all of these organisations to help them reach a greater proportion of their local market, and to help them reach groups of women that they have traditionally been unable to connect with.

This will include an online hub to compliment and draw together best practice and to encourage collaboration between existing women’s networks in the three regions.

Mike Hawkins of the Northern Way, based at ONE North East said, "The bgroup has unrivalled experience in enterprise promotion campaigns right across the UK, yet is run by two young women in Newcastle - what better example to set others as we set out on a journey to grow the entrepreneurial spirit in the women of the North?

"Their proven experience in developing online networks that really work can be seen in the hugely popular news service they run, the bdaily. It is exactly this viral marketing expertise we were looking for to link together the three regions and create a bigger voice for women in business."

Diane Gates, creative director at The bgroup added, "This campaign will be based on women’s real needs; not on preconceived or assumed barriers to business that are often cited as catch-all cliches. We are very acutely aware of the issues surrounding women in business, and this campaign will seek to address those properly, share the best and most recent support structures and information and deliver a surge in interest for female start ups across the North."

The bgroup will form a partnership for this contract with evaluation experts Richardson Howarth to ensure that all of the campaign fits with the national agenda for female entrepreneurship, such as the recent launch of national task force for women’s enterprise headed up by Small Business Minister, Margaret Hodge.

Top of the agenda for the new Task Force is assessing the impact of the regional economic strategies in increasing women's enterprise rates nationally. Women-owned businesses across the UK generate between £50 and £70 billion for the economy. All nine English Regional Development Agencies (RDA's) are now implementing women's enterprise strategies and action plans.

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