Applications open for Women's Launch Lab incubator programme

June 19-23 sees the launch of National Women’s Enterprise Week (NWEW), the first ever UK wide celebration of female led businesses. 

The brainchild of entrepreneur Alison Cork MBE (also founder of not for profit Make It Your Business), NWEW aims to support and encourage female enterprise with a whole week of activities for both the general public and female entrepreneurial community.

As part of this initiative, NWEW will also see the launch of our first Enterprise Incubator, Women’s Launch Lab, offering 12 all expenses paid places on a London bootcamp (June 20-22) for female led early-stage startups.

During the programme, startups will hear and learn from innovative female entrepreneurs, growth and marketing strategists and financial experts. They will be trained to deliver their best pitch to secure investment. In the evenings they will attend networking events and receptions at the British Library and House of Lords. The programme will culminate with them pitching their idea to a panel of seasoned VCs and investors.

Applications are currently open until May 15th for female entrepreneurs to win a place and applicants can apply here

A powerhouse of female judges, speakers and mentors are involved in the initiative: 

  • Sara Davies MBE
  • Winnie Chiu JP, President and Executive Director, Dorsett Hospitality International
  • Isabel Oswell, Head of Business Audiences, British Library Business & IP Centre
  • Alison Hall, CEO of fashion brand Sosandar
  • Mariam Jimoh, Founder and CEO of Oja

The judging of the bootcamp’s final pitch showcase will be taking place at Dorsett Shepherds Bush.

The programme comes at an important time. While more female-led businesses were founded in 2022 than ever before, women-only led companies still just made up a fifth of these new corporations. 

‘‘Entrepreneurship is a life changing experience and one we must normalise in the UK, so that it is as natural to become a business owner as it is to become a doctor or dentist,” comments Alison Cork, MBE. “For women this also means levelling-up the numbers, as currently only one in four businesses is female owned or led. Moreover, NWEW is focused on startups as opposed to scaleups, because it is the thousands of ‘acorns’, as opposed to the few ‘unicorns’ which make the biggest difference to peoples’ daily lives around the UK.”