An event to celebrate International Women’s Day was organised at the Women’s Enterprise Hub in Sparkbrook last week, and Estella Edwards, our CEO, was fortunate enough to be able to attend. The stated purpose of this event was to ’empower women and to motivate them by invigorating their entrepreneurial spirit’, something which Estella, with her track record of seeking to empower young women in business, was happy to support.
What made the occasion even more joyful for Estella there was the fact that it enabled her to reconnect with some former colleagues from many years previously. Imani Clough, one of the panellists speaking at the event, had undertaken a placement at The Future Melting Pot (TFMP) back in 2013. Through her experience at TFMP, which had a focus at the time on youth entrepreneurship, Imani was able to develop key skills and build the confidence she needed to eventually start her own business focused on empowering young women.
The event organiser, Sarah Crawley, the director of the Women’s Enterprise Hub, also has a history with TFMP. A decade ago, back in 2009, Sarah helped Estella in the original formation of TFMP through the Birmingham-based Institute of Social Enterprise (ISE). Her help was invaluable in getting TFMP up and running, and helping Estella overcome some of the barriers faced by women in business.
It was appropriate then, given the personal connections of the attendees to TFMP, that the event itself was an empowering occasion that sought to celebrate female entrepreneurship.
Alongside the many successful female entrepreneurs in attendance was the West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, who contributed to a fascinating panel discussion. The panellists provided an illuminating insight into the challenges faced by women in business in 2019, with still less than 10% of the biggest companies in the UK having female CEOs.
However, a hopeful note was also struck. The increase in the amount of support from organisations such as the Women’s Enterprise Hub was cited as an important agent for change. Imani agreed that there is now a lot of support for women entrepreneurs. Indeed, her story is an inspirational example of a young women not only starting a business, but starting a business with the specific purpose of empowering other young women.
Overall, this was a fantastic event, and Estella hopes that it, and the wider work of the Women’s Enterprise Hub, will help inspire other women to consider a career in business and to believe that they can be the CEOs of tomorrow.