Women’s entrepreneurial spirit is alive and kicking, something the Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs (IOEE) is keen to celebrate. We found out what happened when the nationwide tour of the IOEE’s ‘Meet A Mentor’ events, designed especially to support women entrepreneurs, hit Cardiff City Hall.
Right now, women mean business in a big way. More and more successful companies have women at the helm and ever more women are transforming their passions into profit.
When the national Meet A Mentor tour, funded by the Government Equalities Office and run by the IOEE, rolled into Cardiff, local female entrepreneurs were keen to network, share ideas and begin productive, supportive, business mentoring relationships.
Teresa Norris went along on the search for a female mentor to advise her on her fledging enterprise. The former nursing sister hadn’t worked for a number of years due to debilitating ME and fibromyalgia. Having been cured through a combination of alternative therapies including Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), she decided to build a business around the pioneering treatments:
“I’d spent £1000s trying to get well. These therapies have totally transformed my life. Now, I help people find more love, more happiness, and better physical and emotional health.”
At the event, Teresa met an established local businesswoman who has provided invaluable advice on blogging, social media and creating a strong web presence. Teresa said:
“I went along thinking I’d need a mentor who had a similar business to me but it’s good to get ideas coming from a different perspective. I was just so surprised the event was free!”
Attendees came from a diverse range of business backgrounds. Jackie Van Baren, 33, runs a virtual assistant business and was also on the lookout for a mentor.
“I just thought it would be wonderful to go and meet the women. I’ve always wanted a mentor and it was a great networking opportunity. The event was relaxed but there was lots to learn.”
Jackie searched for a part time job after the birth of her son 18 months ago. When finding the right role proved difficult, she took control and set up JVB Connect:
“Most of my career, I’ve simply chanced upon roles. Taking some advice from women who know what it takes to run a business in Wales will be great.”
Executive Chair of SFEDI and the IOEE, Ruth Lowbridge is keen to spread the word on how valuable mentoring relationships are:
“Businesses that have the support of a mentor have been shown to be more likely to grow their workforce and increase their turnover when compared to non-mentored businesses.”
The roadshows were launched by Business, Women and Equalities Minister,Jo Swinson who said:
“It is vital that we support female entrepreneurs. There are more women-led businesses in the UK than ever before, and we know that if women were setting up and running new businesses at the same rate as men, our economy could benefit from 1 million more entrepreneurs.
“Mentoring is key to this. It helps to build confidence, develop key business skills and provides a network of contacts for those starting out.”
If you’re an entrepreneur, female or male, how could a great mentor inspire you, create new opportunities and make a positive impact for your business?
Find out more about becoming a mentee or a mentor at www.ioee.uk