200+ Wiltshire businesswomen celebrate International Women’s Day

By Anita Jaynes on 13 March, 2015

More than 200 businesswomen from across Wiltshire came together to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Inspirational speakers, workshops and networking gave delegates plenty of tips, ideas and contacts to help them grow their local businesses at the free conference organised by The Enterprise Network.

One of the keynote speakers, Juliet Davenport, Chief Executive of Good Energy, said: “It is really important to encourage more women to be part of the growing enterpreneurial spirit in the UK. We need more women to bring a gender balance into businesses and make Britain great again.”

Jo Fairley, founder of Green and Black’s chocolate, said she always encouraged businesswomen to learn from other female entrepreneurs: “Our challenges are the same; we all have to juggle babies and business and home!” She added that there was no magic formula to success: “Everyone I know who is successful in business rolls up their sleeves and puts in 18-hour days.”

That resonated with sports therapist Sam Cox from Chippenham’s Active Potential Therapy, who attended the conference. “Sometimes you just have your head down, really working hard and worrying that you are missing out on stuff like time with the children; but this event helped us look at the bigger picture, that it will all come to fruition and be worth it!”

Feedback from delegates highlighted the great opportunities to learn essential tips and ideas to help their businesses develop, and make contacts with other local businesswomen, supporting each other and collaborating.

Safia Hothi-Bellamy from Pure Punjabi Ltd attended a workshop focusing on selling: “It was really fantastic; it helped give me a focus. I’ve got a big action list now!” she said.

The International Women’s Day Conference held at Bowood was funded by The Enterprise Network (TEN) in Swindon and Wiltshire and delivered in partnership with Wiltshire Business Support Service.

The Enterprise Network Swindon and Wiltshire, a £5.2m initiative led by Wiltshire Council with Government and EU funding, is nurturing new and growing small and micro businesses by supporting them right from the first ‘light bulb’ moment. It has four Enterprise Centres across Wiltshire offering affordable offices, meeting rooms, co-working and networking opportunities alongside free, impartial, business advice.

Pictured above (from left): Kate Forrest (The Enterprise Network), Nastasya Barbiere (Unique & Chic), Sian Thomas (Rosian Enterprise Ltd), Jo Fairley (Green & Blacks), Karen Dankins (Unique & Chic), Akasha Lonsdale (The Life Mastery Academy) and Rachel Sweet (Wiltshire Business Support Service). Photo by Sabine Coe