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Digital Workshops Aim to Inspire the Female Rural Entrepreneurs of the Future


A programme designed to inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs is seeking to partner with schools and organisations in rural Wales.

Dream Bigger is NatWest’s fully-funded programme focused on developing transferrable entrepreneurial skills in 16 to 18-year-old females. The aim is to drive confidence in preparation for the future world of work and impact the percentage of women who intend to start a business.

A Welsh-language version of the entrepreneurship workshops, Anelu’n Uwch, is also available.

So far this year Dream Bigger has reached 12,351 participants across the UK. It has seen a 221% improvement in mindset and a 233% increase in intent to embark on an entrepreneurial journey amongst those taking part.

Now Siwan Rees, NatWest’s Entrepreneurship Development Manager for Wales, is calling on teachers, parents, carers and organisations which work with teenagers to get in touch to find out more about the digital workshops.

She said: “Our experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic have led a lot of people to re-evaluate where they work and how they work. We’ve seen many rural businesses come into their own by supporting their local communities in a difficult time, and a lot of people who previously commuted to work to towns and cities have realised they don’t really need to do so.

“I think we’ll see a longer-term shift towards people setting up and growing far more businesses in rural locations. The Dream Bigger and Anelu’n Uwch programme is ideally placed to help equip young women with the skills – and perhaps more importantly, the mindset – to consider entrepreneurship as a genuine career choice.”

Dream Bigger is free of charge and open to all genders, although an emphasis is placed on empowering young women because of evidence that they tend to lack the confidence and self-belief to consider starting a business as a viable career option.

The Rose Review, a report written for HM Treasury in partnership with  NatWest CEO Alison Rose, found that, compared to boys, young girls lacked the confidence or ambition to start businesses. It also reported that the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor ranked the UK 28th in the world for enterprise education.

The review also found that only one in three UK entrepreneurs is female, and that boosting female entrepreneurship could add £250bn to the economy.

Siwan said: “This gender disparity in entrepreneurship comes at a massive cost, not only to the economy but also to young women’s aspirations. Dream Bigger is the first step on a fully-funded journey of business support offered by NatWest. Once the Dream Bigger programme has inspired the confidence in a participant to start a business, they can move on to our Business Builder course for further support on starting up.

“And for growing businesses we offer our NatWest Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, so there really is support every step of the way to help young female entrepreneurs start, scale and succeed with their business.”

Dream Bigger aims to:

  • Broaden career horizons and develop awareness of entrepreneurship as a possible future career.
  • Develop future skills and capabilities in young women, leading to increased confidence and resilience.
  • Bridge the gap between education and the workplace, preparing young women for the future world of work.
  • Develop awareness, understanding and self-reflection in young women of themselves and others.

The Dream Bigger content is designed to support a range of abilities and learning styles and is taught by NatWest’s expert delivery team, who have a wealth of experience working with entrepreneurs. Each session is supported through a variety of learning materials and includes follow up support for both teachers and students.

  • Individuals who want to sign up to Dream Bigger virtual sessions can find a selection of dates and can register here:

  • Schools and other organisations who would like to discuss hosting English or Welsh-language virtual sessions can contact [email protected]