One thousand female entrepreneurs are to be recruited to help more women to set up their own business, the government has announced.
Industry minister Margaret Hodge said an “army” of businesswomen activists will provide a national network of women helping women across the country.
The 1,000 women will be recruited by Regional Development Agencies across the UK.
Speaking at a conference on women’s enterprise, Hodge said: “We cannot afford to not do this. There would be three-quarters of a million more businesses in the UK if we matched US levels of female entrepreneurship.
“Successful women throughout the country can and must mentor and inspire many more women.”
Hodge also announced plans to launch a support programme for women who have graduated from a UK university within the past 10 years and are thinking about starting a business.