A NEW women’s networking group aims to boost the number of female entrepreneurs and professionals in Oxford’s tech sector.

TechTonic also hopes to encourage more women business ‘angels’ – as investors are known – to come forward.

Co-founder Nicola McConville of Oxford-based law firm Penningtons Manches said: "Two things planted the seed in my head.

"The first was hearing about the funding and tech landscape in Cambridge, where a group of female business angels support female entrepreneurs.

"I asked a few people here if they could name a female business investor, other than Oxford Instruments’ Audrey Wood and people struggled to come up with a name."

The second, she said, was realising there were few all-women panels or female keynote speakers at tech events.

She added: "I took soundings from women and men who are prominent and influential in Oxford’s tech scene, asking if they shared the view there was a gap?

"But if so, did they think we do something about it?"

Other co-founders are Lynn Shepherd, former-communications director at Oxford Instruments and executive chairman of innovation event Venturefest and Sue Staunton of Oxford accountants James Cowper Kreston, who works with tech clients.

The steering group includes representatives from Oxford University’s Isis Innovation, the Innovation Forum and several female entrepreneurs.

Ms Shepherd said: "More and more women are either part of the tech sector or are wanting to join it.

"We are still in the minority – you only have to sit around a meeting table and count the number of ladies present but if we can strengthen that voice and encourage more to 'just do it', I will be quite happy."

TechTonic launches at Osney Mead-based Venturefest on June 29, see venturefestoxford.com.