Businesswomen based in South Yorkshire are invited to an event to celebrate the success of women tech entrepreneurs and ask how others can be supported to set up innovative digital companies.

The ‘Celebrating Women in Tech’ event is inspired by this year’s International Women’s Day theme #BreaktheBias and will be held at Sheffield Hallam University on Friday March 11th.

Research shows the tech sector trails others in terms of diversity with just four percent of the fastest growing tech start-ups in the UK led by women; and women making up less than 20 per cent of the tech workforce. Also, women leaders in the sector appear much less likely to succeed in their bids for funding with only 7 percent of UK companies solely-founded by women securing equity deals in 2021, according to a report by business data analysts Beauhurst.

Attendees at the South Yorkshire-wide event will be asked to reflect on the current situation and consider what barriers they feel exist for women entrepreneurs and how they could be helped to tackle them.

‘Celebrating Women in Tech’ has been organised by TEAM SY, a project which aims to help more South Yorkshire-based tech entrepreneurs access business support and investment opportunities to explore new ideas and markets and set-up or scale-up tech companies.

TEAM SY super connector Ceri Batchelder said: “We have some excellent examples of women tech entrepreneurs in South Yorkshire and our event will share their inspiring stories and insights. But, we’re also aware that their success stories are few in comparison to enterprises led by men and this year’s International Women’s Day’s theme of #BreakTheBias has prompted us to ask women working in tech what barriers they face and how we could help to tackle them.”

TEAM SY will use the findings from discussions on the day to inform the development of future business support programmes for the region. They will also feed into plans for a new regional network for innovative women working in technology being developed by the Innovate UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN).

Laura Smith of KTN will speak at the event alongside a panel of successful tech entrepreneurs.

These will include film director and producer Daljinder Singh, based in Sheffield, and founder of a digital tech start-up, Shreem, an online platform which enables freelancers to collaborate and earn money fairly across South Yorkshire’s creative sector.

She will be joined by Fran Ferris-Oakwell, also based in Sheffield, who is an experienced mentor for ‘tech-for-good’ startups and co-founder of Accessible Communications Ltd, creators of Family Phone, a tailor-made app to help people living with dementia stay connected through their smartphone or tablet.

The line-up will be completed by Imelda Fossu, CEO of the Fossu Group portfolio of internet businesses. Imelda is a champion of inclusivity in tech innovation and founder of #YorkshireCreates which targets support at entrepreneurs in under-represented groups including women of colour, marginalised communities and young people from working class backgrounds.

Imelda Fossu, based in Doncaster said: “It's so important to involve everyone in tech innovation and invest in ideas which come from everywhere. Women and diverse founders are grossly under-invested in, so I’m so pleased to be supporting this year's #breakthebias theme to help more female entrepreneurs, and other under-represented groups, break through the barriers they may face and receive the opportunities they so deserve.”

The ‘Celebrating Women in Tech’ event will be held Friday March 11th, 9.30am – 12.30pm at Hallam View in the Owen Building at Sheffield Hallam University. Everyone is welcome. To book a free place via Eventbrite see here.

TEAM SY is an ERDF part-funded project delivered by Capital Enterprise and Barnsley Council – its host authority. It works to consolidate existing business support, as well as deliver new accelerator and funding readiness programmes to establish a strong tech startup ecosystem in the region.