The First Ever Business Festival For Women In The UK

In the US Women have been starting businesses at a higher rate than men for the last 20 years and tend to create home-based micro and small businesses. It is thought that this trend will be replicated in the UK.

There are now over 200 people already registered to attend and the organisers are expecting 1,000 women to attend on the day.

Joni Farthing Director of Women Outside the Box explains the story behind the event: “I originally arranged an event back in March to support International Women’s Day, involving 100 women. The response was overwhelming. Once those hundred women started networking there was no stopping them. People were asking why there weren’t more large-scale business events like that for women. That’s how the idea came about. I believe feeling oneself to be part of something big, gives us all the confidence to be ambitious. It’s important that women starting out, have the chance to meet with others who are already successful. But when it comes time to grow their company women can often get stuck. So there’ll be a lot of help through workshops and clinics on this subject at the festival.”

Research carried out by the Women Enterprise Network in 2011 shows that “a significant proportion of women feel they are held back from achieving their full potential by the struggle to achieve a work life balance (39%). This is a continuing major challenge, particularly for females running micro businesses who have family/caring responsibilities. Despite this, 59% of respondents manage to network regularly to overcome isolation.”

Joni outlines some of the main issues for women who run businesses:
“For women in particular it is really important they get support and grow their network to succeed in business, whether that’s for help with their childcare arrangements or finding suppliers they have confidence in. Women also tend to make business relationships in a very different way from men as we enjoy finding common ground, empathising and working collaboratively.”

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