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Leading the pack: Barking Mad

When we attended Enterprise Nation’s Festival of Female Entrepreneurs in October, we met founder and director of Barking Mad Lee Dancy. She was there as part of a panel, advising female entrepreneurs on the next steps to take in their business: “The ability to network and learn from one another is invaluable. I spoke to lots of really interesting people who had fantastic ideas and they just weren’t sure where to go with them,” she says.

And Lee’s a good person to ask. Her small business brings on a classic ‘oh, wish I’d thought of that’ reaction, as is the case with many successful start-ups. Barking Mad arranges bespoke holidays for dogs (in place of kennels) while owners themselves are away, filling a large gap in the marketplace. We caught up with her again, along with her Middlesex franchisee Melissa Sincock to talk about franchising, female entrepreneurs – and working with dogs.

“I was one of very few women in a sea of grey suits – and my challenge was not only being a female, but getting those men to take me seriously,“ Lee says. She’s certainly taken seriously now, with her business going from strength to strength since she set it up in 2000. She now has 61 branches and a team of franchisees who all benefit from the successful Barking Mad business model:

Watch the full video to discover how female entrepreneurs are designing businesses to fit with their lives, rather than the other way around. And don’t forget to look out for special guest star appearances from our NBFs Monty, Saffy, Maz and Ted.



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