Measures to create a wave of new female entrepreneurs have been set out in a report to the European Parliament by a Conservative MEP.

Marina Yannakoudakis started her own succesful small business before being elected MEP for London in 2009. She believes passionately that unleashing the potential of female entrpreneurship will not only mean greater opportunity for women but could play a big part in reviving the economy.

She said: ”I want EU countries and local authorities to make better use of funding already available - such as special grants, social security provisions and venture capital - to give women fair access to business start-up and expansion cash.“

This should be backed up by an education programme of information campaigns, seminars and training sessions to help women exploit the European Progress Microfinance Facility, she said.

Other suggestions are for member states to launch one-year entrepreneurship or apprenticeship programmes for women and for better co-operation across Europe to promote best practice and networking opportunities for bunisesswomen.

Mrs Yannakoudakis said: ”The economic crisis means more women are wanting to return to work or start businesses.

”But some employers believe that working mothers may show less commitment and flexibility than other employees.

”In the face of this, many young mums are looking to become self-employed or start up their own companies. These ’mumpreneurs’ are a growing phenomenon and I hope this report will help swell the ranks of female-owned businesses.

”We must give working mothers and other women the flexibility and support they need for their business and leadership skills to blossom. When they win - we all win.“

Her report was adopted by the European Parliament in a vote today (Tuesday).

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