LIVE in London
Today is Workingmums LIVE London and thousands of women have pre-registered to attend to meet family friendly employers and take part in a range of seminars and advice sessions on everything from flexible working to starting up a business.
The event will also see the launch of Workingmums Business Zone which aims to give parents all the tools they need to start their own business and get the work life balance they need.
The launch, which is the result of a survey showing 69% of working mums have considered setting up their own business, comes as a Workingmums.co.uk poll shows that over 90% of working mums think having business mentors would help women start their own businesses.
The poll shows 68% of those polled felt business mentors would help build their confidence and provide support for women entrepreneurs. Some 24% agreed that mentors would build their confidence and provide support, but said these were not the main obstacles to them setting up their own business. Eight per cent said mentors would not help them start a business.
In November, the Government announced plans to fund the creation of 5,000 volunteer mentors for women entrepreneurs in an effort to increase their numbers.
One single mum who was made redundant after returning from maternity leave said lack of cash and confidence were holding her back from starting her own business. "I'm having to work full time now, and I'm really not happy, and I have to work my way up again. But at least I'm working. I shy away from self-employed roles, but they could be the key!"
Another said: "The biggest issue with starting a business these days is a lack of business guidance and a severe lack of funding. At present personal savings are not what they used to be. Depending on the business you wish to start it is likely that you will need a loan. Banks are not lending unless you already have a business & even then some established businesses cannot get a loan. For as long as there is no financial support there will be no boost in the start-up of small businesses."
Another agreed: "For years I have struggled through life, bringing up three children mostly on my own. Then I gave up my secretarial career to help out with grandchildren. Being a very energetic full of life and very creative person, I had ideas speeding through my brain all of which I could not get support for, and then years later I saw them eventually being 'brought to life' by others, with financial support,"
Another added: "Without money you cannot open any business - mentoring is secondary to essential capital needed for business," she said.