Project launched to boost female entrepreneurship

Tara Attfield-Tomes

The Lifted Project is a nationwide initiative aiming to boost high-growth entrepreneurship among women outside of London and the South East by creating regional growth boards in five UK cities.

Founded by Zandra Moore, co-founder and CEO of Panintelligence, the project was inspired by a government taskforce recommendation to increase private investment in women-led businesses.

The Lifted Project has established regional growth boards in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds, and Newcastle, with a goal to increase the number of female-founded high-growth enterprises by 50% within three years.

The Birmingham growth board will be co-chaired by Tara Attfield-Tomes, founder and managing director of PR agency East Village.

She also founded The 51% Club to help female founders scale, and holds leadership roles in several organizations promoting equality in investment, leadership, and skills development.

Attfield-Tomes said: “Whilst Birmingham has a well-connected ecosystem for early-stage entrepreneurs, we’re still missing the coordination and influence needed to really create change for female founders who want to scale. This lack of focus – and funding – means that incredible women-led businesses are either leaving the region or, worse than that, not reaching their potential.

“We have to make some radical changes to the funding landscape; not just providing better access, but also ensuring that more women hold the purse strings on investment boards and as angel investors. I am truly honoured to be co-chairing The Lifted Project alongside Hephzi; this strategic board has some ambitious goals and I am determined to change the world for female founders.”

Supported by Lloyds Bank and led by Lifted Ventures, the initiative was co-founded by Jordan Dargue and Helen Oldham to connect early-stage investment with female founders.

Research indicates a higher proportion of high-growth, female-founded enterprises in the South East due to better access to funding and resources.

However, a 2022 report by Shoosmiths found that 17.1% of companies in the West Midlands are female-led, making it one of the top regions for female entrepreneurs in the UK.


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