NEWS COPY - WITH PICTURES

Talk about the mother of great ideas...

Eight of Britain's most respected female entrepreneurs have thrown their weight behind a groundbreaking new initiative that supports mums in business.

Rachel Elnaugh, Sally Preston, Laura Tenison, Antonia Chitty, Wendy Shand, Leila Wilcox, Mel McGee and Rachel Jones are backing Mentoring Mum, a unique mentoring scheme for self-employed women.

They will draw on their extensive experience to offer help and guidance about all aspects of business - from law and tax to marketing and public relations.

In effect, the telephone service will provide 'kitchen table tycoons' with a direct hotline to some of the UK's most high-flying businesswomen.

Remarkably, the experts - all of whom are leading figures in their fields - have donated their time for free.

The scheme - which goes live on March 15 - is the brainchild of 'mumpreneur' Allison Price, the founder of www.motivatingmum.com.

It was launched, she says, in response to the increasing number of mothers setting up their own business after childbirth.

''More mothers than ever before are setting up their own businesses,'' she said.  ''However, many of them lack knowledge or experience and face difficult challenges right from the start.”

''This exciting new initiative will enable mums already in business, as well as those wanting to start up, to obtain affordable support and advice to help them achieve their dreams.

''The joy of the service is in its simplicity; it will enable mothers looking for advice to choose the most relevant expert and get in touch directly.''

The consultants include Sally Preston, the founder of Babylicious.co.uk - a successful baby and children's food brand.

Fashion guru and MBE Laura Tenison owns JoJo Maman Bébé, a ''quirky and imaginative'' range of children's clothes, while award-winning tycoon Antonia Chitty runs PR firm ACPR.

Rachel Elnaugh of Dragon’s Den fame is one of Britain’s highest profile female entrepreneurs and Mel McGee is the founder of Supermummy, a speaker and author.

Edinburgh-based Rachel Jones designed the award-winning Totseat 'washable, squashable' travel highchair which is now sold in 29 countries.  Last year she won Red's 'Hot Women' award for success in international business.

Leila Wilcox - described as a ''serial entrepreneur'' owns a string of businesses including marketing firm Leila Communications and Wendy Shand, from Northamptonshire, runs global travel business Tots to Travel.

Wendy said: ''I wanted to offer my services as a mentor because I've been down the path, and wept the tears, of the new small business owner.  Now it's my turn to share my experiences, and help other women build their own successful businesses."

In coming weeks, more women will join the consultancy panel. It means mums will be able to access a database of experts on the Motivating Mum website and select the consultant who most area suits their needs.  Advice is given over the phone, with a 30-minute session costing just £40.

Allison said: ''Time and again I am approached by mothers wanting guidance with their businesses. Many set out with great ideas and huge amounts of passion but struggle to realise their vision.

''The majority of them simply can't afford professional help due to the prohibitive costs. I realised that there was a need for mums to be able to access affordable advice, and that the mums out there with established businesses were very happy to share their knowledge.

''By matching the two together I can hopefully help more mums across the UK establish themselves and experience the immense personal satisfaction of seeing their businesses grow.''

Saira Khan, runner-up in the first series of BBC’s The Apprentice and the founder of baby skin care range Miamoo, said the service was the ''perfect solution'' for self-employed women.

''If only I'd had access to affordable, accessible mentoring from like-minded women, when I first started out,'' she said.  ''It's the perfect solution for mums who need help with their businesses.''

In addition to working mums, the scheme will also support the Association of Post Natal Illness (APNI).

Allison said that all money raised through the launch will be donated to the charity.

APNI spokeswoman Siobhan Merrifield said: ''It is a hugely inspiring and worthy scheme which will be helpful for businessmums who could otherwise be isolated or alone - a situation that can sometimes lead to post-natal depression.''

Mentoring Mum sessions will be available to buy online from 11am on March 15. To secure your slot, visit www.motivatingmum.com.

Alternatively, contact Allison Price on 0208 946 6868 or email alli@motivatingmum.co.uk.

ENDS

Notes to editors:

For interviews or high-res pictures, contact Allison Price directly on 0784 0016774