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Creating Positive Footprints....

International Women's Day at the House of Commons

Pink Shoe founder Helene Martin Gee, members and friends were hosted by Anne Marie Morris MP at the House of Commons for a Champagne Afternoon Tea to mark the centenary of International Women’s Day. Pink Shoe put together a Roll of Honour of ‘100 Remarkable Women’ to celebrate the 100 years.

At the tea, Anne Marie greeted guests warmly and praised the many inspiring women being celebrated. Anne Marie also reminded us how important it is to work with young people, so that future leaders are supported and inspired.

Helene thanked the MP, saying as a successful businesswoman as well as a Parliamentarian, it was especially fitting for Anne Marie to host a celebration of successful women.

Helene then announced the Pink Shoe Roll of Honour and went on to say: "These 100 Remarkable Women are truly exceptional self-made women who have each added something to the world.  Innovators, leaders and campaigners. Some showing immense bravery and courage fighting for freedom and equality. Not afraid of controversy or even breaking the law, these women have left an indelible mark on the world, changing it forever.

  • 25 of these remarkable women have had postage stamps made in their honour
  • they’ve led countries and armies
  • killed with their bare hands
  • been imprisoned for obscenity and criminal damage
  • sunk a battleship, smuggled birth control, fought prejudice
  • changed the way we dress…
  • changed public perceptions of vital issues such as mental health
  • become beacons for peace, changed laws and changed the way we are governed
  • become political prisoners or placed under house arrest
  • have waged war, been exiled, executed, assassinated, or murdered
  • been at the forefront of computing, physics, scientific breakthrough and medical science
  • become the most prolific and successful authors ever
  • led the way in the arts, media, TV and film
  • broken world records; raised huge sums for charity
  • changed the way we look at the environment, worked to protect endangered species
  • been teachers, advisers and mentors
  • many have built significant fortunes, some have changed the way business is done
They have truly changed the world.
As well as all these public achievements they were also wives, lovers, mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts and friends. And alongside them, are all our unsung personal heroes - the teacher, mother, mentor, we each have if we’re lucky.

For all these women and for all of you, lets celebrate the past 100 years and commend these women in our Roll of Honour. And lets also look to the future, the hand across history that we can each offer to young people and to those around us. So the next century is filled with even more remarkable women changing the world".

Anne Marie then proposed a toast to the women of the Pink Shoe Roll of Honour, and also to Janet Lakhani, who was celebrating a very special Birthday, along with son Adam (left), and to whom we all sang ‘Happy Birthday!’

Guests spent time viewing the Roll of Honour presentation, mingled over pink fizz and enjoyed a superb afternoon tea complete with pink fairy cakes!

Pink Shoe Club Enterprise Forum

‘Investing for Social Impact’
In partnership with the All-Party Parliamentary group on Entrepreneurship (APPGE)
At the House of Commons for our regular Enterprise Forum, we held a fascinating roundtable discussion, with networking afterwards in the Chomondeley Room of the House of Lords, by kind invitation of Baroness Flather and Alpesh Patel.

Lord Ahmed, Chairman of the APPGE welcomed the group, we then had quick introductions from Helene Martin Gee on the four excellent panellists - Anna Sofat, Founder of Addidi; Nick Hanna, Founder of www.solarclubs.com and author of The Green Investing Handbook; Honor Wilson-Fletcher MBE of the Aldridge Foundation and Nigel Kershaw OBE, CEO of Big Issue Invest.

Delegates were from all sectors and backgrounds, and included students from Lambeth Academy (right), who posed questions to the panel. Panellists were extremely engaging and there was a lively debate.

To a question from Sue Lawton, we began discussing crowd funding, which Nick Hanna pointed out wasn’t new, being run along the same lines as mutual building societies. Uday Thakkar of Red Ochre, said there is a lot of hype around them, and good as they are returns are unclear even for cooperative models.

Student Daniel Dennis asked how the impact of social investment can help bridge the social divide and positively affect young people in inner cities.

This led to many suggestions, and Nigel Kershaw shared ideas around a sustainable local magazine, which could be compiled in every borough, for example the Shoreditch Trust produces the Star Magazine.

As talk widened to social investments, Honor Wilson-Fletcher said it is the relationship with the giver that is key. Aldridge has created the Entrepreneurial Communities Fund, which is endowed, shaped and run locally so that projects are attuned to local people and their community.

Katie Owen said ethical finds are making a big impact but we need Government to offer tax breaks or other incentives, eg the EIS scheme which offers reward for taking an investment risk. It was agreed that investors seek more than financial rewards and this is paramount when making investment in a social enterprise – or social business as Nigel prefers to call it.

Anna Sofat explained money doesn’t motivate after ‘basic needs’ are met, so a model with part equity/part debt offers another way of investment. Uday said charities don’t want investment; but social business needs to look at an asset lock, so social entrepreneurs can benefit from value created. Nick agreed, saying we need to challenge the assumptions and work out how best to manage the exit.

Anna suggested we need to define a reasonable ROI – its not going to be 30%, but the assessment of return, both financial and otherwise, is still needed for a social investment. To map and measure success is key – but we often don’t measure social impact, although the Kauffman Foundation have mapped success and it would be good to share this model.
To a question from Jenny Wardle, asking where are the levers, and how can we change the mindset and attitudes of investors? Panellists suggested we also need to change the business model. In fact, said Honor, we need a number of different social business models.

Dr John Potter has set up the Cornwall Institute for Entrepreneurship. He said there are two cultures with social investors, the desire for financial return alongside the need to do good. There are many high impact funds, for example in Brazil where they are used to create affordable housing.

Kevin Riches suggested there is a clear opportunity for a Social Investment Exchange, the model being the Nanotechnology Exchange (INSCX). This would ensure compliance, give security and provide a marketplace. But measurement is needed, and Christina Alfonso said metrics do exist. Jill Case reminded us that protecting IP is also important, as creative and inventive social entrepreneurs often neglect this area.

After a compelling 90 minutes, we joined Baroness Flather’s reception in the Chomondeley Room for the launch of her new book ‘Women Acceptable Exploitation for Profit’.

We made great connections as we networked with her other guests and were further inspired as Lady Flather talked about women in India and how microfinance can stimulate communities, which certainly resonated with our previous discussion.

Networking in the Cholmondeley Room...
Business cards and ideas are exchanged..

Energised students continue to share ideas with Nigel Kershaw!