By Daniel Hunter

An exciting £1.5million ERDF-funded project, which will help women entrepreneurs in London to globalise their business, has been officially launched by the University of East London (UEL).

At last week’s Conservative Party Conference, David Cameron called on the UK to increase overseas sales in order to boost the economic recovery. Whether it’s a textiles designer who specialises in wall murals or a self-starter who has designed an app for booking tables in Europe's top restaurants, the time is ripe for London’s women-led small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to start thinking global.

Due to run until August 2014, Make it Global, will offer London’s women-led SMEs access to an enviable list of international business networks, entrepreneurship experts within the higher and further education sector, and most importantly, the chance to start trading in a diverse range of international markets.

Funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), Make it Global is being led by the Centre of Excellence for Women’s Entrepreneurship (CEWE) at UEL and delivered in partnership with the European Business and Innovation Centre Network (EBN), Newham College of Further Education, Kingston University and a network of strategic partners.

The Make It Global project will support 250 women-led SMEs in London to explore new market opportunities and the benefits of taking their business global. Over the next two years, the project will offer SMEs access to inspirational workshops, country-specific events, peer learning groups, international business-to-business networking and specialist innovation support to help them to achieve their growth potential.

Selena Bolingbroke, UEL Pro Vice-Chancellor, said: “The world is a small place when it comes to business, so it is time for female entrepreneurs to start broadening their horizons and thinking global. Without question, the one thing that has hindered women-led SMEs from exploring this avenue in the past has been the lack of support and specialist advice. Make it Global will make up for this knowledge gap and provide our female entrepreneurs with that all-important practical advice about how they can make the transition to go international with their business.”

“By working with our network of specialist partners and business contacts, we look forward to seeing London’s businesswomen becoming businesswomen of the world. This project marks a major milestone in our bid to become Europe’s leading institution for female entrepreneurship by 2020.”

Faith Johnson, who runs Caramel Rock, a textiles social enterprise in east London, commented on her aspirations of going global. She said: “This is a fantastic opportunity. It will offer a platform for those who are trying to go international and the support, wisdom and practical advice you really need. Whether you work in fashion or any other sector, Make it Global, will definitely appeal to women-led SMEs in London.”

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