Business woman (2)

It also calls on the government and Women's Business Council to support a new digital platform providing female entrepreneurs with better access to relevant role models, support groups, business mentors and a wider network of assistance.

Mr Woulfe said: "We believe the Academy could become the centre of a support system for women entrepreneurs, modelling the position of Tech City UK with digital businesses. It will be important that support is drawn from across government, business and education to provide the expertise and experience on which entrepreneurs can draw."

Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne, founder of Genius Foods Ltd and one of the entrepreneurs interviewed for the report, said: "The Women's Enterprise Academy is perfectly posted to become a national umbrella organisation for women to tap into. It will be a hugely valuable online and physical resource for women to develop a supportive network with kindred spirits, mentors and role models, to air ideas and learn from real experiences. It will form an ideal centre for a range of business courses, relevant to the entrepreneur in the start-up phase and beyond."

Minister for women, equalities and family justice, Caroline Dinenage, said: "We must all work together to break down the barriers that prevent women from starting up a business and making it grow. The government is supporting business women by sponsoring mentoring roadshows and offering bespoke training, as well as providing start-up loans to help women achieve their entrepreneurial dreams."