A delegation of five women business owners and two academics from Wales are due to participate in a European Symposium on Developing Future Female Entrepreneurial Leaders from 15-19 May 2017 in Athens. ‘Developing Entrepreneurial Women – Changing Horizons’, known as ‘DEWCH’, is a 3 year Erasmus+ project devised by Christine Atkinson, Head of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub, University of South Wales run in partnership with colleagues from Novancia Business School in Paris and the National Chamber Network of Women Entrepreneurs in Athens.
“Women entrepreneurs make important contributions to our economies and we need more of them. In addition to the challenges that all business owners face such as getting the finance right, women are also more likely to experience difficulties in overcoming lack of confidence, establishing credibility as a business owner and in reconciling home or personal priorities with those of business” Christine says.
The aims of the project and the symposium this month are to promote entrepreneurship as a relevant career choice for women and to develop new gender sensitive learning and teaching approaches for women who are budding entrepreneurial leaders and, in particular, a Masters in Gender and Entrepreneurship.
While in Athens, the Welsh delegation will hear from and exchange with other leading women entrepreneurs, researchers and academics on such topics as mentoring, entrepreneurship education, leading for sustainability and managing projects and intrapreneurial teams. The women business owners in the Welsh delegation come from across South Wales and have a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise to contribute.
Michelle Beer, founder and Digital Media Strategist of Ferry Cake Marketing and PR Consultancy based in Kidwelly is one of the women in business selected to join this delegation. The business was set up in 2014, after the birth of her daughter and after having worked 15 years in marketing, PR and comms both in Wales and New Zealand. She has a passion to support small businesses, in particular women in business, developing digital marketing skills and expertise and seeing technology being optimised in businesses.
A Big Ideas Wales role model, Business Wales mentor, creator of #ShoutOutWales www.twitter.com/shoutoutwales and delivers one of Wales first, all age level 4 Digital Marketing Apprenticeship in partnership with Swansea ITeC. Michelle says “I hope to learn from this course, develop my leadership skills, build new relationships and to take time to think about my business development and growth.
” Swansea Valley born Entrepreneur Stacey Adamiec says “I am thrilled to be given the opportunity to contribute my experience in Enterprise to the international programme”.
Her Business portfolio spans the Creative and Leisure sector in Wales and includes the foundation of Arts & Enterprise Hub Revue Studios, and more recently a regeneration consultancy helping to develop spaces for the sector, by supporting creatives to commercialise their ideas. With an unconventional path into business and a background as a Choreographer, Stacey adds “I am looking forward working with the other UK, French and Greek entrepreneurs to advise on the Masters programme being developed by the DEWCH Project partners to assist entrepreneurial talent to increase their business skills from many diverse backgrounds”.
Stacy herself recently went back to education and graduated from the University of South Wales Postgraduate Certificate in Mentoring for Entrepreneurial Practice programme and aims for her mentoring work to play a key role in the developmental process. Stacey says “I am keen to inspire others to achieve their potential and overcome disadvantage, adversity and the judgement that Entrepreneurs inevitably experience on the journey to reaching their goals”. Stacey’s priorities include supporting women in high growth potential creative businesses as she believes that often such talent is overlooked as a result of limited beliefs of key decision makers regarding what have become labelled as ‘lifestyle’ businesses.
Lisa Marie Brown is Founder Pinkspiration which aims to inspire young people and transform communities through working in the construction industry re-building empty spaces and empty shops. Lisa and her team have enabled more than 5,000 young people to gain construction skills via a TV programme Transforming Spaces: Design Factor featured on ITV. Lisa has worked in the Construction industry for more than 10 years and her business has reached more than 20 million globally. Lisa was appointed as a Virgin Media Ambassador and has worked with Richard Branson, Boris Johnson and Michelle Mone.
Sherona Treen-Coward, runs a Virtual Office Solutions company based in South Wales, and works with a wide variety clients and businesses of varying size, type and industry. In addition to clerical, secretarial and administrative PA support, they also provide exhibit support, event support and management, social media support, email campaign support and management, among other short-term and long-term project work. Sherona says “As a business we are looking forward to embarking on our international journey with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Hub and developing our network in the UK and abroad”.
Helen Walbey, based in Rhondda Cynon Taff, is the only woman in the UK to own and run a scrapyard and recycles motorbike parts, exporting internationally. She is also the Federation of Small Businesses Policy Portfolio Chair for Diversity and Health. Helen says “I am thrilled to be chosen to attend this course. I have been selling internationally since I started 13 years ago and I can’t wait to meet new contacts and expand my network. There is so much I can learn from the other delegates and I can’t wait to get started”. You can follow Michelle’s journey on Twitter @michelle_beer and @shooutoutwales or #DEWCH