Mary Macleod and Development Secretary back female entrepreneurship

The Secretary of State for International Development, Rt Hon. Priti Patel MP joined Mary Macleod in Brentford this week to visit MicroLoan Foundation and Bianca Marton.

At MicroLoan Foundation, Priti and Mary met with founder and CEO Peter Ryan and other staff to hear about the work they are doing to provide women in sub-Saharan Africa with small loans to set up businesses to help them provide for their families. To date MicroLoan Foundation has loaned £25m and helped over 150,000 women many of whom were trying to survive on little over £1 a day. 99% of the loans provided by MicroLoan Foundation are repaid in full and can then be used again to help more women to start a business.

Priti Patel said: “It was fantastic to come along with Mary to hear about the great work that Brentford-based MicroLoan Foundation are doing to equip some of the poorest women in sub-Saharan Africa with the tools, skills and finance to work their way out of poverty. Their efforts are setting up a virtuous economic circle in their local community, allowing their children to complete their education and build a better future for the next generation.

“Mary is a relentless supporter of female entrepreneurship and I look forward to working with her again in Parliament as part of Theresa May’s government to continue these efforts.”

The next stop on the Brentford visit was to Bianca Marton, creator of award-winning artisan chocolates. Bianca was on hand to talk through the dairy-free chocolate making process as well as some of the challenges of setting up and growing a business.

Mary said: “We have some amazing organisations locally and it was great to visit two of those today. Women have typically been behind men in setting up businesses in both the UK and globally. I believe everyone should have the opportunity and necessary support to set up a business if that is what they choose to do. This entrepreneurial spirit is vital for our economy in the UK and also for the global economy.”