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Creating Positive Footprints....

Inspiring Enterprise in Manchester

Truly inspiring and exciting ideas came out of the four roundtable discussions of interprise:13 at Great John Street Hotel, Manchester. Our third 'Pop-Up' event in the city was again supported by Berg and was the first stage of interprise, which will be followed up in November during Global Entrepreneurship Week.

After introductions from PSC Founder Helene Martin Gee, the event opened with a captivating and informative talk from Sara McKee. Sara outlined her fascinating background working for major companies, including with highly successful entrepreneurs. She gave us excellent tips on running a business and reaching the top. Sara has often seen men are readier to take opportunities as they come, whereas sometimes women spend too long considering the situation ‘Don’t wait for the tiara to be put on your head!’

It’s often said women don’t put themselves forward unless they’re sure they have all the necessary requirements, while men will more likely take a chance.  Sara is confident to explore opportunities: ‘I’m the 70% woman! If I have that much of the ask I’m willing to give it a go – you can always learn the rest’

Then onto the debate, as women from the North West, London and further afield discussed four key questions on how we could help to inspire enterprise and ‘Take a Step Forward’ the theme of the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Week.

How to provide a launch pad for more women to start the businesses of tomorrow
How we encourage successful women to back female entrepreneurs and invest in women-led businesses
How to inspire people over 50 into setting up a business
And finally, female representation on boards and in public life.

Each group was randomly allocated a question and after animated discussion within the four groups, each chairman brought conversation to a close as the group decided upon an idea to put forward to the whole audience. There was then a debate on the ideas, chaired by Jill Pay.

As the group chair presented each idea to the wider audience many excellent suggestions were made. These included a ‘talking heads’ road show for successful women entrepreneurs and business leaders to act as role models for other women and inspire more business start-ups. This to be both virtual via the internet and actual, to visit different regions.

Another idea was to create an interactive central hub where business owners and emerging entrepreneurs could collaborate and share resources and experiences, to support and encourage each other. With match funding for business ideas from those already in business.

Education was much discussed, with emphasis being upon bringing entrepreneurial thinking into the curriculum at a much earlier age. It was agreed to be key that knowledge is shared between generations. This was also explored by another group who suggested an Ideas Forum, everyone bringing something to the forum such two-way coaching and mentoring, seed corn or expansion funding. 

This Think & Do Tank was mirrored by the final group who put forward the idea of the ‘Give it a Go’ Foundation where businesses, Government and business people all work together to encourage and support start-ups and growing businesses. 

After a vote, it was clear the overwhelming majority voted ‘Give it a Go’ the winning idea. Although as Helene said many aspects were included in each conversation. Along with all the brilliant ideas from each discussion, outcomes will be published shortly.

Addidi Inspiration Awards

Each year Anna Sofat, founder of Addidi Wealth hosts these prestigious awards to celebrate inspiring women from the present day and from history. 

The theme for 2013 was social enterprise and from the four extraordinary women the winner was Dame Elizabeth Cadbury and her Champion Benita Refson OBE, CEO of Place2Be. 

The other nominees were Annie Besant, championed by Suzanne Biegel founder of Cataylyst at Large; Josephine Butler nominated by Dr Jane Davis MBE of the Reader Organisation; and Beatrice Webb for whom the champion was Shauneen Lambe of Just for Kids Law.

As ever, this was a very special event charmingly co-hosted at Tavistock House by Anna & Janardan Sofat.

G20 Young Entrepreneurs at the House of Lords

The international G20 YEA annual Summit brings together young entrepreneurs from many different countries. This year it was the turn of Russia to host. The UK delegation is jointly organized by the Young Brits Network and Youth Business International. After attending the send-off for the G20 Young entrepreneurs at the IoD before their trip to Moscow for the 2013 Summit, it was great to be able to co-host their triumphant return!

Lord Ahmed welcomed guests to the House of Lords and told of his own business journey from a market to his own fish & chip shops and now into property. 

We then heard from some of the excellent young entrepreneurs as well as the G20 President Alex Mitchell and Lead Delegate Glynn Peglar. Glynn said it’s not simply about knowledge exchange which is great in itself, but also about making excellent connections - as a result of attending previous summits he’s now launching his business in Mexico.

The young entrepreneurs fund their own trips and all were both inspired by what they got from the trip, and inspiring to us, as they told us a little about the Summit and their own growing businesses.

Owen Campbell-Moore energized us with his energy and passion for technology. Nathan Cornish of Timto set up his gifting platform to allow people to group together to buy gifts while also supporting charity. Elin Rees is a PR dynamo and already has international clients, providing PR for major music festivals. Nick Proctor of Amber Energy took full advantage of the occasion to suggest his green energy could be ideal for new commercial property sites!

After the presentation guests enjoyed networking over lunch with officers of the APPGE and some of PSC’s entrepreneur members.

Vistage Open Day with AmyK

An amazing event to end the business week on a high! At the St Pauls Etc venue, a half day seminar as part of the Vistage Open Day series. Vistage is a great organisation that provides a peer group for leading CEOs and company founders of mainly £20-50m turnover mid-level businesses. Each group has an experienced chairman and they meet monthly at members' organisations and share ideas about business issues, triumphs and challenges with others in a similar position. Vistage now also has a division for early-stage businesses.

AmyK Hutchins of Ignite Brilliance swept onto the stage and gave us a truly awesome session on leadership. With innovative and practical ideas there were lots of must-do takeaways, not just new ideas but ways to change our thinking and become more effective. Unlike some training days that leave one energized at the time but slow to act, we were inspired to go back to our businesses and implement the ideas with vigour!

Thanks to Amy K and Vistage for a memorable day. Also to Etc Venues for providing a lovely location and wonderful food that was both tasty and healthy.

Helene Martin Gee gives a talk at Henley Business School

Pink Shoe Founder Helene Martin Gee spoke on entrepreneurship at Henley Business School, Reading University. A group of visiting Chinese students from Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, were joined by post-graduate students from the Henley School of Entrepreneurship. 

Helene spoke about her own career, the setting up of Pink Shoe Club and future trends in business. One area in which Helene believes there is much opportunity is Internet retail, especially in the luxury market. 'It’s vital to me I work in an area that interests and excites me, that’s why I focus on luxury. Business ideas that resonate with one’s own life are much more likely to be successful’.

Other speakers included Judy Piatkus, who told of an exciting business journey from her spare room to running an international publishing business, Piatkus Books. Judy talked about the importance of timing and team work. ‘Timing and looking out for future trends is vital in business’ Judy certainly walks her talk - with excellent foresight and demonstrating a clear knowledge of the world publishing market, Judy sold her company in 2007 as she could see that the digital revolution was about to completely change the publishing world.

Later in the week, the Universities met at The House of Lords as The Earl of Erroll hosted the group to sign a Memo of Understanding between Henley Business School and Zhejiang University.