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Businesswoman holds Downing Street talks to help single mums

GO GETTER: Yvonne Bignall

ENTREPRENEUR YVONNE Bignall has gone straight to the top and had talks in Downing Street with some of the Prime Minister’s aides to look at ways of increasing Government support for single parents in business.

Single mum Bignall, 48, who has set up Launching Women In Business (LWIB) to help women start out on their own following redundancy or long term employment, said it was a useful discussion.

She said: “It was a privilege to be invited and it’s certainly not something which happens every day. I think it was a great opportunity to represent women at the grassroots and share our concerns and hopes.

“It’s encouraging to see the government cares enough to want to listen to and better understand our experiences in order to do more to help.”

Bignall and eight other businesswomen met with Daniel Korski, who is a special adviser to David Cameron, and Laura Trott, a political adviser on education and family policy.

The group looked at issues such as the affordability of childcare, availability of funding and the transition from benefits to running a sustainable business.

Bignall, who has a 26-year-old son, grew up in Tooting, southwest London, and now lives in Somerset.

She added: “We learned there are schemes out there, but they are not well advertised. We want to share this information so single parents can benefit and the government’s work is recognised – it would be a win-win situation for us all.

“To be a single parent and run your own business is tough. My family have been amazing, but even with their support it’s been hard.

“Running a business means you constantly have to be alert, looking for new opportunities, so it changes the way you behave. I’d say if you really want to do it then don’t allow your current circumstances to hold you back. Look at ways to work towards your goals. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.”

Bignall, who has worked in a variety of roles, was made redundant from her job as a personal assistant in 2004.

It initially knocked her confidence but gave her the push to do something she was passionate about. She set up her own virtual PA firm and later a training consultancy.

A Chartered Management Institute qualified coach and mentor, she now wants to help others avoid some of the pitfalls she made early on in her business.

“There are many things I wish I knew when I started out, which would have ultimately saved me a lot of time, hassle and money. LWIB has been set up to help women make great gains – with less of the pain,” Bignall said.

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