Surrey businesswomen find inspiration in Tandridge

05 February 2015

Over 100 women have joined forces to share their stories and experiences of setting up and running businesses in Surrey.

Be Inspired: Make it Happen! was the brain-child of Rosemary French OBE, executive director of the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, who was recently awarded an OBE for her services to women in business.  She explained: “At any one time, 10% of women are thinking of starting their own business and yet there is little hands-on advice and support available.  In my experience, one of the most valuable sources of support is the encouragement that women can bring each other.  For this reason, we organised a networking event for local businesswomen, sponsored by the Gatwick Diamond Initiative, Tandridge District Council and Oxted-based Talent Gateway with support from Surrey and Sussex Chambers of Commerce.”  Held at the Surrey National Golf Club in Chaldon, interest in the free event was so high that it ‘sold out’ with over 100 local women in attendance.

Inspiring speakers at the event included Nici Jupp, Managing Director of Talent Gateway, a company providing flexible recruitment and business support services.  Many of the people they place are experienced, skilled women who are looking for more flexible or part-time roles in business.  Nici explained: “Many of the women I meet are searching for part-time work or simply the opportunity to work more locally in order to continue to develop the skills and experience they gained during their London-based jobs.  For employers willing to embrace flexibility, it’s a win-win situation.”

Louise Round from Tandridge District Council, talked about her journey from Law to becoming the Chief Executive of a local authority.  She told the audience: “The key to success in overcoming some of the challenges women still face in the workplace is a willingness to volunteer to do things, even when you are not sure you can, and to be curious about everything.  I find that most things are interesting if you are interested in them!  The single greatest gift parents and our education system can give our daughters is self belief.”  She went on to describe the Council's approach to supporting businesses in the district, a great proportion of which are small start up businesses, run from people's homes and often by women trying to balance child care needs with a determination to succeed commercially.

Reporting on her attendance of the event, Paisley Kemp, who runs a business locally, said: “I had read about the event and decided to drop in.  I run two businesses and I was really inspired by the speakers and learned so much, including the importance of finding a mentor who can help me along the way as well as some good suggestions to fund our growth plans.”

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