THE Venus Awards for women in business have spawned a school for start-ups.

The initiative aims to help women develop more confidence as well as personal and practical skills.

The Venus Business School has been launched by Venus Awards founder Tara Howard in partnership with Nic Rixon.

Mr Rixon is a London-based business coach who has worked with international organisations including Sony, IBM and Telefonica.

Aimed at start-ups in Dorset, the initiative aims to boost profitability and encourage investment in the county’s start-up culture. It aims to offer workshops for every type of business.

Tara Howard, who started the Venus Awards in Dorset in 2009, has rolled them out to 14 regions with a national final.

She said: “In the years since the Venus Awards launched, I’ve been lucky enough to meet many inspiring, powerful and vivacious business women in the region, but it has also shown that there is a real lack of confidence in women when it comes themselves and their achievements – even the businesswomen at the very top of their game.“The Venus Business School arose from a desire to help women develop not only business skills, but the personal skills needed to be successful.”

She told the Daily Echo: “We did a survey of 25,000 people on our database and we got 2,500 responses. The thing that came through was that people wanted communication, confidence and leadership. Stress and time management were the others, but confidence was the main thing they wanted.”

She said she had received business advice herself from Nic Rixon. “I only like to recommend things I’ve done,” she added.

“It’s nice to have something focused more on women. We are slightly different in outlook and whilst we can excel and do excel, sometimes we don’t believe it and don’t put ourselves forward and apply for things whereas guys will.

“We don’t deal well with rejection. Guys deal with rejection all the time, like ‘Will you go out with me?’ We don’t like rejection.”

The business school is holding a Launchpad to Success Day on Thursday, November 15, at the Chewton Glen Hotel, New Milton. It will take people through creating a plan to build and develop personal attributes and business strategy.

Venus Business School also offers a 12-month course, with 12 days of immersive learning over a year. The course helps develop personal skills from confidence and communications to business skills such as management.