Development minister meeting women bosses at Canary Wharf conference

International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone meets entrepreneurial business women when she speaks at a conference at Canary Wharf today as part of a promotion to boost exports to Europe.

The women have all been helped by a £1.5 million EU project for networking and overseas trade.

Among those Featherstone is meeting is Anna Sexton, founder of ‘Open to Create’, a business set up in Poplar offering training, mentoring and programmes in creative coaching to help people expand their practice.

The minister is discussing how support from the European Regional Development fund can help more women entrepreneurs expand through its ‘Make It Global’ project which supports London companies.

“I’m keen to see more women reach the top of the business world, having worked on women’s and equalities issues in government,” the minister said. “This project is making a real impact helping women achieve their goals in business by expanding their companies into new markets around the world.”

The Lib Dem politician, who is also meeting University of East London’s vice-chancellor Prof John Joughin, is campaigning to keep Britain in the EU “to support the jobs and businesses with access to European markets that our membership provides.”

The global project offers research, student placements and networking events in collaboration with the University of East London and the Newham College of Further Education.

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It has involved 290 London businesses so far. The aim is to help local economies create more jobs in hard-pressed areas like east London.