Female entrepreneurs – how to find support and mentoring

Accessing help, advice, and relevant skills for female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses successfully is available; read our guide on accessing what you need.

With more than 140,000 all-female-founded companies launched in the UK in 2021, female entrepreneurs are on the rise.

Finding a mentor or joining a support group can benefit female business owners who face barriers relating to gender inequality, biased stereotypes, and other challenges.

Read our guide on overcoming the challenges female entrepreneurs face.

The importance of mentoring and support

Finding a good mentor and accessing support networks can establish a space where female business leaders draw on their shared experience as females in the industry and discuss how to overcome challenges they may encounter, such as:

Discover business support available.

Types of support for female entrepreneurs

Finding a mentor can benefit female entrepreneurs looking to take their businesses to the next level.

Mentors listen to their mentees’ aspirations and help them construct a robust business plan to achieve their goals.

A good mentor is someone with years of entrepreneurship experience who can motivate, inspire, and impart wisdom.

It can be a good idea for female business owners to seek a female mentor as they will likely have more relatable industry experience.

A female mentor can implement additional expertise (tailored specifically to women) into a comprehensive mentorship programme.

Female entrepreneurial communities are built upon mutual understanding so women can offer each other practical advice, attend workshops, and grow alliances to develop their businesses further.

Read our guide on promoting diversity and inclusivity in the workplace.

Where to find a mentor and support

There are various options you can take when looking for a suitable mentor.

If you know someone with valuable experience and insight into entrepreneurship, such as family or friends, approaching them for guidance may be a good idea.

Alternative options may be attending conferences, workshops, and industry events.

These events allow you to connect with like-minded individuals and meet prospective mentors face-to-face.

You can do an online search for mentorships and networking groups for entrepreneurs.

You could also try social media to find networking opportunities where you may come across potential mentors.

When looking for a mentor, some things to consider are:

  • their experience - whether they have mentored before
  • their availability - whether they can commit to real-life or online meetings
  • their honesty - whether they can give you honest and constructive feedback
  • their industry background - choosing someone from a similar sector is visibly beneficial, but a mentor from a different field may offer a fresh perspective
  • personal reliability - if you’re a parent, you may want to find a mentor with experience balancing primary care responsibilities with building a business.

List of support and mentoring groups

The Santander Breakthrough Women Business Leaders’ Mentoring Programme

Santander’s nine-month mentoring programme nurtures female entrepreneurs’ business growth and professional development.

The programme matches female business leaders from the UK with male and female mentors from purposely different business sectors to encourage creative and alternative perspectives towards business growth.

Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

The foundation matches women entrepreneurs from low and middle-income countries with professional business mentors across the globe.

Both mentor and mentee work together for a year to establish bespoke business goals and produce a development plan based on those goals.

Female Founders Forum

Partnered with Barclays, the Female Founders Forum is a community of some of the UK’s most successful female business owners.

They are the first organisation to address the equity funding gap directly.

They hold events that unite female entrepreneurs to inspire and advise each other.

If you would like to get involved, contact [email protected].

Women Entrepreneurs UK

Women Entrepreneurs UK is a website for female entrepreneurs containing valuable and recent statistics alongside numerous articles designed to inspire and support all women from all ethnic backgrounds and help women balance business with parenthood.

She Means Business

She Means Business is a free space for entrepreneurial women to network, share advice, and offer support for each other across the UK and Ireland.

Female business leaders can be directed to virtual training events, live Q&As, and contact with business experts.


WiRE particularly appeals to businesswomen in rural areas or market towns as opposed to larger towns and cities.

It enables businesswomen to attend meetings and events designed to help them expand their skills and boost their confidence.

Women Mean Biz

Women Mean Biz is a prestigious network of female entrepreneurs, from start-ups to established corporations.

Members can swap and share ideas, build alliances, and find the support needed to improve their business strategy.

Women in a business network

For female entrepreneurs who own small to medium businesses, the (WIBN) is a community of empowered businesswomen who can learn and grow from one another’s experiences.

Members refer each other’s businesses, offer mutual support, and participate in business collaborations.

The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE)

BAWE provides a network that will challenge, support, celebrate and promote women in business, whether founders or directors.

Female Entrepreneur Association (FEA)

FEA has over 800,000 members, where women can access online business classes and virtual meetups and be part of a growing directory of over 5,000 businesswomen.

FEA provides women one-to-one mentorship and frequent invitations to real-life events and workshops.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

Making business finance work for you

Our Making business finance work for you guide is designed to help you make an informed choice about accessing the right type of finance for you and your business.

Read the guide to making business finance work for you

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