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Local businesswoman selected to join national taskforce to help promote Women in Enterprise

Helmsley businesswoman Carolyn Frank has been appointed to a national taskforce established to promote women in enterprise.

The taskforce has been set up by the largest business organisation in the country, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) to champion the needs of UK’s many fantastic women small business owners.

Carolyn will join fourteen other small business leaders from across the UK to build on the recommendations of FSB’s Women in Enterprise report released earlier this year.

Carolyn owns Libby Butler Jewellers, a retail jeweller based in the picturesque market town of Helmsley, North Yorkshire, with her partner Andy. She became a small business owner in 2009 after a career working in Europe for large multinationals as a business development manager. She also helped found the Helmsley in Business group in 2012, which is an independent business group made up of 60 per cent women business owners, who work together to promote the town. The group recently led Helmsley to win the Great British High Street’s “Britain’s Best market town” award 2015/16.

An active member of the FSB, Carolyn has contributed to a number of the organisation’s reports including on the topics of broadband and mobile connectivity, rural transport and women in business. In 2013, Carolyn was chosen as a Small Business Saturday 100 business and is now a Champion for the national campaign, along with being an Enterprise Advisor for the Careers and Enterprise Company. 

Carolyn Frank said: “In Helmsley we have a very high percentage of female business owners, so the topic of women in enterprise is particularly pertinent. Being a small business owner brings with it its own particular challenges, and so I hope to be able to bring the experiences I and my colleagues in the town have encountered to the taskforce to help encourage real change and provide advice to those who need it. It’s a real honour to be involved in the group, and I look forward to working with the inspiring women of the FSB.” 

FSB’s report, ‘Women in Enterprise: The Untapped Potential’, found women-led businesses face many of the same challenges all small firms encounter – including cash flow issues (42%) and difficulty accessing finance (25%). However, there appeared to be issues which were more acute for women business owners.

Two in five (40%) women said balancing work and family life was a key challenge. Achieving credibility for the business (37%) and a lack of confidence (22%) were also significant hurdles.

The Women in Enterprise Taskforce, led by FSB Diversity Chair Helen Walbey, will look at ways to overcome these challenges. The Taskforce will also develop a series of regional events and networking opportunities to help more women successfully achieve their potential by starting and growing their business. The FSB also looks forward to working with the newly appointed Minister for Women and Equalities Justine Greening to help further promote Women in Enterprise.

FSB Diversity Chair Helen Walbey said: “We now have a dedicated group of entrepreneurs across the UK to help drive cultural change towards diversity in business.

“Each of these small business owners tells a different story about starting and growing their business. But all of them have first-hand experience of the challenges women entrepreneurs face. That’s why the Women in Enterprise Taskforce is well-placed to identify the barriers for women and break them down one by one.

“We have a huge opportunity to boost growth and prosperity in this country by supporting more women into business. Women-led smaller businesses already contribute over £85 billion to the UK economy. But only one in five (22%) firms are majority run by women. If women were to set up and grow businesses at the same rate as men, the Government estimates it could add £600 billion to the economy.”