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Creating Positive Footprints....

Women in Enterprise and Angel Investing in 2016

An engaging roundtable began with our dear friend the Earl of Erroll welcoming Addidi to the House of Lords, in support of their recent collaboration with Pink Shoe. Although a jovial affair (as always!) the event had an important purpose- to build momentum behind the UK Economic Blueprint. 

The Economic Blueprint seeks to drive growth in women-owned businesses. One way it aims to achieve this is through enabling entrepreneurial females to better access capital and training and this is where Addidi comes in.

Founded by Anna Sofat in 2006, a powerhouse of the financial services industry and a champion of female entrepreneurship herself, Addidi is an award-winning wealth planning and angel investment firm.
We heard about the three funds Addidi manages and Anna went on the tell us of the brilliant Addidi Talent initiative which matches successful female entrepreneurs as NEDs in growing businesses.

Anna explained to the floor it was through learning of the astonishing and rather shaming reality of the investment industry in 2006 - when only 5% of investors in the UK were female - that she was inspired to begin a boutique investment firm exclusively for women; alongside Anna's abundance of passion, courage and determination which is plain to see.

With a background in wealth planning, Anna and her husband Janardan, a chartered accountant formed Addidi (@addidi). In the decade since, the company has not only blossomed into a female financial services empire but the number of female investors in the UK has grown by 10% - taking the number to a total of 15%. Now working in collaboration with Pink Shoe and as part of the UK Economic Blueprint there is an even more ambitious aim - to increase the number of female angel investors in the UK to 30% by 2020.

Equality is of course one reason for this ambition. Yet, the feeling of the evening was that women also have different qualities to offer when investing than men. The Earl of Erroll highlighted how women are often better at understanding character - an important quality as with any investment one is investing in the budding entrepreneur as well as the business.

One shining example of how successful female angel investing can be came from Oxford graduate Emily Bendell- founder of Blue Bella (@emilybluebella). A young woman with a big idea, Emily set about searching for funding to build her fledgling lingerie business after discovering a gap in the market for a product with a luxurious feel at an affordable price tag. Male angel investors often didn’t grasp the inherent difference between her business concept and others already in the market. Time and time again doors were closed and obstacles put in her path. 

It was only after hearing about Addidi, and successfully pitching to Anna and her team of angel investors, that Emily’s lingerie concept was understood and taken on board. Addidi Enterprise provided Emily with the funding she so needed alongside invaluable advice from her ‘angels’ who supported and nurtured her business. Now an award winning chain with boutiques opening across the US and Europe, Emily has never looked back.  It is this success that Pink Shoe and Addidi aim to replicate throughout the UK. Through Emily’s story, it is clear to see how female angel investors can offer the capital and training crucial for growing the number of women-owned businesses in the UK. 
One way to further encourage and support entrepreneurship is for more female entrepreneurs to enter awards. The most prestigious of these is the EY Entrepreneur of the Year, which as well as the chance to win provides a wide support network of know-how and opportunity. 

EOY was eloquently championed by tax superstar and leader of EYs Women’s Network Joanna Santinon. Delegates were enthused and inspired to enter or nominate to get more women participating and hopefully winning! 

With change being led from the city and with the UK Economic Blueprint making waves at Westminster and beyond, we hope the unbecoming statistics towards women in business and enterprise will soon change for the better. Watch this space! 
The evening ended with a very pleasant Champagne reception.

Highlights of an historic year for Pink Shoe

January saw the year begin with Pink Shoe gathering together the brightest and best of its members for the Economic Blueprint Taskforce, with some incredible women leading and participating in the four work streams. The taskforce created a 10-point plan of key action points ready for the new Parliament, to be delivered within the next 5-year term 2015-2020.

In February, invited members joined The Rt Hon Francis Maude MP for a Cabinet Office Public Appointments reception at Admiralty House.

For International Women's Day in March members enjoyed a fascinating roundtable 'Women in Parliament' hosted by Lady Howells. This highlighted the many and diverse roles women hold in the House, from Speaker's Chaplain to Editor of Hansard. We also attended the excellent annual IWD lecture at the House of Commons.

In April we were with the Centre for Entrepreneurs (CFE) at the launch of their new report on female entrepreneurship 'Shattering Stereotypes' supported by Barclays and based on research from ERC and others. We also celebrated St George's Day with drinks and networking in Parliament.

On the last day of Parliament before the General Election we held the Spring Soirée before all the MPs went back to their constituencies to campaign. 

When Parliament returned in May with a new Government, Pink Shoe held 'Election Reflection'. 

A high level debate with a range of speakers from all political parties, discussing the impact on both the nation at large and entrepreneurs and women in business in particular.

An essential part of the Pink Shoe calendar, places were balloted for the State Opening of Parliament. Winning Ambassadors watched the arrival of HM The Queen then relished a special State Opening luncheon before visiting the Chamber for the debate of the Queen's Speech.

On Monday 15th June - 800 years to the day of the historic signing of Magna Carta - we held a 'LiberTea' at the House of Lords in commemoration. The only such celebration held in Westminster on the actual anniversary of this momentous event. 

During July and August a series of splendid Ambassadors' Lunches were held on the terrace, where we were able to enjoy wonderful summer buffets in excellent company - and were lucky every time with the weather!

In September the autumn soirée hosted by Lady Uddin was held in the glorious River Room in support of Save the Children.

October saw our premier event of the year with #FQ2 at the Shard in partnership with Enterprise Research Centre and sponsored by Addidi. 

With prestigious speakers including Small Business Minister Anna Soubry, Alan Mak MP and WIPP president Jennifer Bisceglie the conference was highly acclaimed.

For Global Entrepreneurship Week in November an interactive event at Parliament 'Pink Shoe Hullaballoo involved young entrepreneurs and Parliamentarians for lively debate.

Then for Parliament Week our 'Women in Public Life' seminar highlighted Ministerial Public Appointments and encouraged more people to #DoDemocracy, with insights from the Cabinet Office and Sarah Anderson CBE.

Pink Shoe rounded off a hectic year with December's fabulous Winter Soirée, the perfect finale.

CELive 2016 Catalyse at Google HQ

Creative England’s #CELive2016 Catalyse conference held at Google HQ was an energetic mix of debate and some fascinating presentations.

Hosted by Caroline Norbury and LJ Rich we heard from a variety of speakers including Culture Minister Ed Vaizey and the irrepressible Karen Blackett. 

Along with engaging panel discussions and presentations from the Google Cultural Trust, were the amazing ‘Future Leaders’ 10 companies from this year’s CE50 report voted by a top panel of creative industry judges.
The afternoon kicked off with The Pitch:Starter for 50 when after presentations from the three finalists we all voted to decide the £50,000 winner.