Two Black Country enterprise agencies have secured funding from Advantage West Midlands to encourage more women in minority ethnic communities to start up in business.
The grants will go to Walsall-based Breathing Space and the Sandwell Women's Enterprise Development Agency in West Bromwich who will both receive #25,000 to spend on events and support to help women start their own business.
Breathing Space was set up in 1989 and is a registered charity which helps disadvantage or socially excluded people to overcome barriers to work.
Sandwell Women's Enterprise Development Agency was also set up in 1989 and works with women in the Sandwell area to provide business support, training and advice.
The West Midlands is one of the worst performing regions in the UK in terms of female entrepreneurial activity.
As part of the new West Midlands Business Link which comes into effect from April 1 2007, targeting minority ethnic communities and women entrepreneurs will be key priorities.
Richard Hutchins, AWM corporate director for economic development, said: "Encouraging entrepreneurialism amongst women and in minority ethnic communities is one of the key targets of the new Business Link service.
"There is massive potential within these areas and groups like Breathing Space and SWEDA are well placed to make a real impact for us."
Gill Edwards, RWEU project manager, said: "Breathing Space and SWEDA do excellent work to promote enterprise within their areas and these grants will help them to increase their activity.
"Bidding from the various organisations for this funding was very competitive and we're looking forward to working with them on promoting enterprise."
Davinder Kaur, SWEDA manager, said: "We are delighted to receive these funds from Advantage West Midlands through the Regional Women's Enterprise Unit.
"They will help to support our work in levelling the playing field so that more women can score their goal of starting a business."
WBDA has won the Flagship Award for best practice standards in women's enterprise development for the fourth time in four years.
The awards, set up by UK business support association for women, Prowess, recognises the service given by WBDA to the region.
Sally Arkley, managing director of WBDA, said: "We are one of only 15 organisations in the UK to have received this Flagship Award.
"We were only set up in 1990 and recently we became part of the Regional Women's Enterprise Unit.
"Our organisation is focused on helping women achieve their full potential by providing free pre-start up, start-up and existing business training.
"Prowess supports 100,000 women every year to start 10,000 new businesses. That adds #1.5 billion to the economy which highlights how important it is to reach all areas of the community.
"It is important that we continue to offer as much support and advice as we can to encourage more and more enterprising women to set up their own companies."
The award is given to organisations that have identified and adopted 13 core standards which are centred on clients, equality, quality and running an effective outreach programme.