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Creating Positive Footprints....

Pink Shoe hosts leading Bangladesh Diplomats

Helene Martin Gee and Pink Shoe Ambassadors hosted a high level group of Bangladeshi Officials, including the Finance Minister, who were visiting Britain to explore fresh ideas and share best practice.

One of three groups in the UK for an intensive programme at the Centre for International Development at Bradford University, the delegates’ main focus was improving and expanding women’s enterprise, working specifically on a project dealing with support for women entrepreneurs.

Along with Dr Roberto Espindola from the University, we held a fascinating roundtable discussion in one of the House of Commons tea rooms, looking at ways to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh, particularly with reference to facilitating their access to loans for SMEs, and sharing some of the funding methods that we in the UK have tried and tested.

It was clear this group of senior men had some great ideas and truly wanted to help create a new generation of women business owners. They have already set up a range of excellent initiatives for Government support and match funding, and just as importantly have established pilot schemes where successful entrepreneurs are passing on their skills and experiences to emerging business owners. We agreed this mentoring would be vital for business growth and success.

During the formal meeting we also discussed the many benefits of female-led businesses with the proven improvements we see at family, local and national levels. This is being demonstrated across many countries. Bangladesh is working hard to gather support not just from women but also from male relatives too, which is crucial given cultural expectations.

Following the formal discussion we enjoyed a reception afterwards in the House of Lords, and delegates were able to meet a number of Pink Shoe Club’s entrepreneur members.

There was  further debate as the group responded to ideas from these successful UK women entrepreneurs from a variety of different business sectors.

However, we could not help but comment that as far as Pink Shoe members went, we would have loved to meet with some of the women involved and to see women leading on such a vital a project to engage with other women.

We hope that with the project’s success, the next visit will include many successful business women!

Leaders Forum: Pink Sky Thinking

This was a powerful half-day seminar led by Una McBride & Vanda Green, with great input from Jill Case.

A group of senior women, including CEOs, creatives and top academics were guided by Una to 'Dream: Decide: Do'

We did this firstly by recognising our achievements, which was tougher than some people had imagined. 

We were then helped to gain clarity of vision for our future.

Once we had each started to envision our dream we focused on the 'pink practicalities' necessary to get tangible results from the personal vision we identified. We learned how to break down our goals into actions and also how to ask for support.

Every one of us gained some extraordinary insights – in some cases literally life changing, which was much more than we had expected from just one afternoon!

Here is what people said:

“The session was well paced to enable me to visualise the one key thing I want to do in my life, now.

“The session allowed me to dream, decide what is important, then make a very practical action list.” 

“I have really enjoyed this.  It has been extremely worthwhile and rewarding to uncover some hidden self-limiting beliefs and to start work on eradicating them.  Pink Sky Thinking has reinforced my belief that I am Okay and re-invigorated my passion for my goals.”

“As a busy CEO, having time to think more deeply about future vision was very helpful.  The superb guidance from Una helped structure my thinking in a way I found beneficial”

We then went onto drinks, nibbles & networking, and were able to reinforce our thinking from the session by spontaneously sharing lots of ideas with the group. Energy levels were super high and we enjoyed a very lively evening. All in all an excellent, fun and beneficial event.

Following on from the seminar, we had each completed a postcard that was sent out 2 weeks later as an aide memoire of the commitment we made to ourselves on the day. This really helped us focus on what we had personally identified so that our individual vision is already closer to becoming a tangible reality.