A CHESTER businesswoman is on a mission to boost small business confidence after the pandemic.

Marie-Claire Ashcroft aims to support business owners beat the isolation, self-doubt, burnout, motivation, mental health issues and lack of confidence resulting from the pandemic by hosting a free, five-day 'Confidence Revolution Challenge' from October 18.

According to figures from the September CEBR Mastercard Report, small businesses make up 36 per cent of turnover in the UK private sector and make up 48 per cent of the labour force.

The same report states that UK small and micro-businesses are already at risk of missing an estimated £827 billion growth opportunity over the next five years after the pandemic if they are not supported to digitise.

The report says women and ethnic minorities were most at risk of being left behind due to their confidence in finding tools or navigating changes after the pandemic.

The challenge is aimed at what Marie-Claire calls "big-hearted, busy-brained business owners and creatives", and is based on questioning and shifting self-image to show up more confidently.

After battling with her own low self-esteem and mental health issues for most of her life, Marie-Claire knows only too well how self perception can negatively impact her ability to experience success in her life and business.

The cornerstone of Marie-Claire’s business is about empowering other business owners so that they can positively impact their communities and do their important work out there in the world.

And after a challenging time for all, she particularly wants business owners to thrive and make a difference to those who need them, rather than merely feeling like they’ve simply survived these past two years.

Whilst the challenge is open to both men and women, Marie-Claire’s message of confidence has resonated more with female business owners.

The Rose Report of Female Entrepreneurship states that 65 per cent of respondents also said they feel most confident in their own business or abilities when meeting like-minded people, and 49 per cent feel most confident when they see ‘people like me’ succeeding.

The challenge aims to question perceived missing skills and experience; tackle isolation by building a community and network of like-minded business owners; and motivate those who want to feel like they’re part of something bigger who feel like they’re struggling on their own.