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WoMENTA and NatWest Join Forces to Empower Aspiring Female Entrepreneurs in Suffolk and Norfolk

[Suffolk, Norfolk] — MENTA Business Support, in collaboration with NatWest, is thrilled to announce the launch of a new WoMENTA programme cohort for 2023/24, aimed at supporting and empowering aspiring entrepreneurs across Suffolk and Norfolk. The WoMENTA programme returns in September, and will provide comprehensive business support, including online workshops, 1:1 coaching, and networking events, to women looking to embark on their entrepreneurial journey.

The programme of support for women in business will be officially launched at a special event on 12th September, hosted at the prestigious Milsoms Kesgrave Hall in Suffolk. More than 100 aspiring businesswomen will have the opportunity to engage with established female business leaders and benefit from insights shared by a panel of business owners, most of whom participated in the programme last year. They will discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by entrepreneurs in today's business landscape and pass on their top-tips for success.

John Neild, COO of MENTA Business Support
, expressed his excitement about the new cohort, stating, "At MENTA, we are passionate about fostering a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem in Suffolk and Norfolk. The WoMENTA programme is a great example of our commitment to providing aspiring female entrepreneurs with the essential tools and knowledge they need to succeed in their ventures. We are delighted to partner with NatWest once more. Their support has been instrumental in making this initiative a reality."

Debbie Lewis, Regional EcoSystem Manager for NatWest, East Midlands & East of England, said: "I'm extremely proud that we are working with MENTA Business Support to help it deliver its WoMENTA programme for 2023/2024.
"Our own research has already illustrated the value and potential female-led business can offer. This partnership demonstrates NatWest's commitment to bolstering women in businesses, offering valuable opportunities for guidance and growth. We look forward to working closely with MENTA and the entrepreneurs taking part, assisting them as they continue their business journey and making their concepts thrive.
"NatWest and MENTA'S shared dedication to foster diversity and enterprise will undoubtedly create a stronger, richer and more vibrant business landscape for Suffolk and Norfolk.”

The WoMENTA programme will cover a wide range of topics crucial for business success, such as business planning, marketing strategies, financial management, and overcoming common entrepreneurial challenges. Participants will have access to experienced business advisors, providing personalised guidance and mentorship to ensure they are equipped to thrive in their respective industries.

An inspiring highlight of the launch event will be a keynote speech from Gina Long MBE.

Gina is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, free-lance journalist, mentor to many charities, individuals and a global charity campaigner. Her success story will serve as an example of the potential that lies within each aspiring entrepreneur, inspiring them to realise their dreams and make a lasting impact.

Whether you are a budding entrepreneur or have recently started running your own business and you’d like some help and support, WoMENTA welcomes you to join this empowering program. The journey to success begins with taking the leap, and with WoMENTA's guidance and NatWest's support, aspiring female entrepreneurs in Suffolk and Norfolk will be well-equipped to make their mark on the business world.

To learn more about the WoMENTA Programme and register for the launch event, visit https://www.menta.org.uk/womenta
For more information about how NatWest is supporting entrepreneurs and its Entrepreneur Accelerator Hub click here.

With immense gratitude, we thank Milsoms Kesgrave Hall for their generous support, making the WoMENTA launch possible, here at East Suffolk's premier events and hospitality venue.

About MENTA Business Support:
MENTA is a renowned organization dedicated to providing expert business support and advice to entrepreneurs and small businesses in Suffolk and Norfolk. With a wide range of resources and services, MENTA empowers business owners to achieve their goals and contribute to the economic growth of the region.

About NatWest
NatWest serves customers in England and Wales, supporting them with their personal, private, and business banking needs. NatWest helps customers at all stages in their lives, from opening student accounts, to buying their first home, setting up a business, and saving for retirement.

Alongside a wide range of banking services, NatWest offers businesses specialist sector knowledge in areas such as sustainable energy, commercial property, and technology, as well as access to specialist entrepreneurial support.


About Gina Long MBE
Gina Long MBE is a philanthropist, entrepreneur, free-lance journalist, mentor to many charities, individuals and a global charity campaigner. She was awarded an MBE for services to the charity sector in December 2015. She was made an Honorary Fellow of the University of Suffolk in October 2018. She is an Ambassador and Patron of Ipswich & Suffolk Business Club, Bury St Edmunds Theatre Royal, West Suffolk College and Sarcoma UK.

Among her many charitable achievements, she has raised over £7 million.

Gina founded one of the first Global Online Auctions, the ‘Ultimate Charity Auction’ which has raised more than £1.8 million since its inception in 2011.

Eight years ago, she started her own charitable foundation trust, ‘GeeWizz’, which was a very special, small charity. It closed in March 2023, after great deliberation, in wanting to ‘semi-retire’…… whilst she proudly continues her charity campaigning, voluntary fundraising, mentoring, patron and ambassadorship roles.

GeeWizz will forever be incredibly special, it leaves a wonderful legacy having supported so many children and young adults and their families, across Suffolk, who are learning disabled or neurodivergent, have a life-limiting illness or cancer, as well as supporting Sarcoma Cancer research and many capital projects; with financial transparency at the heart of everything the foundation does.

In 2020, Gina created and organised the Ed Sheeran ‘Made in Suffolk Legacy Auction’, working closely with John and Imogen Sheeran. A total of £506,000 was raised to fund legacy projects – the redevelopment of a much-need playground at the Thomas Wolsey Ormiston Academy in Ipswich, which will be completed this summer 2022 and funding the introduction of a specialist nursing team – including learning disability and palliative care nurses and physiotherapists – at the Zest service, run by St Elizabeth Hospice. Prizes were donated by global superstars from the world of music, sport, art, festival events, hospitality, and many organisations.

Away from fundraising, she is a successful serial entrepreneur, regularly writes columns and articles, interviewing and championing successful businesses, individuals, celebrities, and entrepreneurs as well as highlighting national and regional charity fundraising achievements and events. She is passionate about Britain’s ‘Food Security’, along with helping nurture and educate children and young adults, helping them see first-hand where food is grown on British Farms….

She is a ‘farmer’s wife’, mother to Sam, Ali and five step-children, their great ‘blended family’, living on the outskirts of Bury St Edmunds with her husband Andrew.