Lincolnshire

Lincolnshire ‘leading from the front’ in business opportunities for women

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According to influential female business figures in the county, Lincolnshire is leading the way in creating an abundance of opportunities for women.

As Lincolnshire’s business base continues to grow, women in the county have seen increased opportunities, with major organisations across the area either being led by women or having women in their senior team.

To explore this further, Lincolnshire Business spoke with three leading businesswomen: Ursula Lidbetter, Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative, Vice Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart from the University of Lincoln and Angela Andrews, Chief Executive at City of Lincoln Council, to find out what opportunities there are for women in business, and how these have increased over the years.

This comes after the three influential women attended a ceremony at the University of Lincoln to officially rename one of its buildings after Lady Nicola de la Haye, a women who ‘saved England’ in 1217.

Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative Ursula Lidbetter. Photo Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Business

Ursula Lidbetter, Chief Executive of the Lincolnshire Co-operative told Lincolnshire Business: “I think Lincolnshire is at the forefront of encouraging women to take positions of authority and women particularly are good at starting their own businesses because then they are free to do that in their own way and in their own style.

“It is very important to celebrate and support women in the county, I think the one thing that you can do to help diversity in the workplace, whether that is gender or any other issue of diversity, is to give people strong role models to say ‘actually that is a place I want to work, I can see other people like me doing well and therefore I will succeed’.”

Angela Andrews, Chief Executive at Lincoln City Council said: “It is critical to support women.

Angela Andrews, Chief Executive for City of Lincoln Council. Photo: Steve Smailes for Lincolnshire Business

“Sometimes women do lack confidence, they have that little voice speaking in their ear telling them that they’re not ready and I think it is really important that women are supported to actually have the confidence to go for it.

“I think we are leading from the front in the county. If you look across at some of the major organisations across the city and across the county, either they are led by women or they have got women on their senior team so I think we are leading from the front but we do it quietly, maybe we should celebrate it a little bit more.”

Professor Mary Stuart, Vice Chancellor at the University of Lincoln

Vice Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart from the University of Lincoln added: “There are significant opportunities for women in the county. I think that as we are growing our business base, there are many more jobs and opportunities that women can get involved in so they can follow their dream and their aspirations in a way that 20 or 30 years ago it was more difficult to do.

“We have many women running very small businesses, often out of their own homes and we need to find ways to support those businesses so they can grow and develop.”