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07 March 2022

Leader of the Labour Party and Shadow Chancellor hears from female entrepreneurs

Ahead of International Women’s Day 2022, Leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer MP and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves MP yesterday (Monday 7 March) visited the Entrepreneurship Institute (EI) at King’s College London to discuss how women can be better supported to thrive as entrepreneurs and the role universities can play in making this happen.


During a roundtable event hosted by the Women Entrepreneurs Network at the EI, attendees discussed the landscape for women in entrepreneurship and the barriers that still exist; how the EI is achieving its mission of closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship and how policy can support women to start new businesses and increase job creation for the UK economy.

The Women Entrepreneurs network aims to achieve gender parity across the Entrepreneurship Institute's activities, with a key aim to ensure that half of the ventures on the King’s20 Accelerator are women-led. The network is open to all students, staff and alumni at King's and increases members’ exposure to entrepreneurial skills, knowledge sharing and community building.

We are delighted to have welcomed Sir Keir Starmer MP and Rachel Reeves MP to the Entrepreneurship Institute to discuss supporting women in entrepreneurship. This was a valuable opportunity to exchange ideas, examine the barriers facing female entrepreneurs, and explore how we may work to overcome them. We know through our own research that only 2% of people see women as entrepreneurs and 45% of people believe entrepreneurs are more likely to be men. This is damaging women's entrepreneurial potential and preventing women from recognising entrepreneurial qualities in themselves at a time when these skills are needed the most.

Julie Devonshire OBE, Director, Entrepreneurship Institute
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It was inspiring to meet with alumni of the King’s Entrepreneurship Institute, and to hear how its supporting female ambition, creativity and drive, to produce the next generation of female led businesses. There is still work to be done to tackle barriers faced by women in entrepreneurship, but it was fantastic to see the success that’s possible when the right support is provided.

Leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer MP
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Women hold the key to building a stronger economy. It was extremely valuable to hear the insights and experiences of women entrepreneurs who have been supported by the Entrepreneurship Institute

Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rachel Reeves MP
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As part of the roundtable, the attendees also heard from 8 of the most successful ventures founded by women to have taken part in the EI’s accelerator programme which included:

  • Bhavagaya Bakshi from C The Signs – A multi-platform tool to help healthcare professionals identify patients at risk of cancer at the earliest and most curable stage of the disease
  • Pahini Pandya from Panakeia - An AI platform to enable simplified, rapid diagnostics to inform the precision treatment of cancer
  • Olga Kravchenko from Musemio - A virtual reality platform provides children ages 7-12 the opportunity to explore their curiosities in culture through gaming
  • Cynthia Adebiyi-Yekinni from The Good Portion – An ethical keto ice cream brand with a social conscience
  • Shreya Kalyanasundaram from RuMedical - A MedTech business focusing on women's health, and product CoolZen, a medical device for menopausal women
  • Oliva Hylton-Pennant from Sistren – an app focused on enabling friendship and network for Black women
  • Sam Tebb from ParentSuportal - Founder of Parent Suportal 2019, an online platform for parents of children with disability and special needs, based in Liverpool
  • Emily Redding from Smart Thinking- A platform for latest public policy research and analysis from UK think tanks

The event was opened by President and Principal Professor Shitij Kapur.

The discussion was also informed by a recent impact report from the Women’s Entrepreneurs network on supporting women entrepreneurs and creating bigger change in the world of entrepreneurship which can be viewed here.

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In this story

Julie Devonshire

Director, Entrepreneurship Institute

Shitij Kapur

Vice-Chancellor & President of King's College London