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Reflecting on an empowering #FFE17

On Friday 20 October the O2 Business team took part in the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs – a celebratory and inspirational event that brought together some of the UK’s most influential female entrepreneurs, business leaders and brightest start-ups to share their vision and challenges.

Hosted by our friends at Enterprise Nation in the heart of Bristol, it was a day of growth, insight, and networking. O2 was on hand with our team offering on-the-spot advice on everything from devices to cloud computing. Later in the day, our very own Zoe Hominick, head of Business Marketing, spoke on the panel: ‘Digital disruptors: What’s next for digital?’ – sharing her thoughts on what small businesses should focus on.

 

Here are our top insights from the day:

 

Having a vision matters
Everyone who spoke had an idea of how their business could change the world – and a very pithy elevator pitch to help them share it! In particular, the three women pitching live for Female Entrepreneur of the Year showed how to communicate their vision simply and clearly.


You can run a great business regardless of location
The entrepreneurs who spoke on the day all spoke of being on the move and fitting in work around their other priorities, such as children. They also came from a wide range of towns and cities – from Surrey to Scotland. Mobile devices, such as iPhones, were considered essential for getting things done on the move.


Women are great for business
“I’m not a female entrepreneur but 50% of our management, 65% of our staff & 80% of our customers are female” – Aron Gelbard, founder of Bloom & Wild the online florist summed it up when he described why he was building a female first company. We also learned that one in five UK businesses is run by a woman – a number that is steadily increasing due to the support of leaders like Emma Jones, MBE, founder of Enterprise Nation. At O2 we actively want to empower more women to make the leap into entrepreneurship – and are proud to support events like #FFE17.


You’re never too old (or young) to start
One of our favourite speakers of the day was Tricia Cusden, founder of Look Fabulous Forever – who started her makeup brand for older skin at age 65. Likewise, the founders of EatMeApp, a IOT solution to transform the relationship between the consumer and the amount of food they waste in their homes was started by two brilliant 14-year-old girls. No matter what inspires you, now is the time to pursue your business goals.


Focus on mobile
Mobile-first was a recurring theme throughout the day, with numerous founders describing how people made purchases on the run (we even saw sales happening during the event – with This Mum Runs merchandise being eagerly snapped up).

 

Helen Smyth, head of SMB community engagement, Facebook – agreed, adding her advice was to go “Mobile first, be visual, get personal and go global”.


And finally… get your attitude right
Carolyn Radford, CEO of Mansfield Town FC spoke about the importance of recognising how your energy impacts on others, and the importance of work-life balance, especially as a parent. Meanwhile Mel Bound, founder of This Mum Runs and 2016 winner of Female Entrepreneur of the Year, spilled perhaps our favourite pearl of wisdom on the day:


All in all, a day that left everyone buzzing with excitement for the possibilities of business in 2018 and beyond! We’re looking forward to taking part in our next Enterprise Nation event, ScaleUp 2017 taking place in London on 10 November.

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