On 5th March I attended the Enterprising Women Panel at the University of Edinburgh Business School, which an international Women’s Day event.
The speakers were women who had set up successful businesses:
- Tanya Ewing (co-founder of Tayeco and inventor of Ewgeco)
- Kirsty Burnham (co-founder of SoLoCo)
- Norma Corlette (Founder of Corlette Consulting and Co-founder of Communities Online)
- Rachel Jones (founder of Totseat )
- Dr Omaima Hatem (Event chair – Early Career Fellow in Entrepreneurship & Innovation, UEBS)
I’ve listened to many entrepreneurs speaking about their businesses but somehow there was something different about a panel consisting entirely of women. Not just that this was unusual in itself, but also in the manner in which they approached things and the perspective that they held.
First and foremost, the enterprising women were unassuming and self-deprecating:
“I’m just an ordinary person, I’m nothing special at all”
“There’s people sitting at home that could have done it better than me, the only difference is that I went out and shouted about it.”
Despite this, the enterprising women were very passionate about what they were doing and the panel spoke about being prompted to start their business by life events and things that they cared about deeply. Families featured heavily in the discussion, as did the importance of inventing something that would make a difference to real people.
What the women emphasised was that they wanted to inspire others to do what they had done themselves, and it was certainly inspiring to step outside the usual male-dominated suit-dominated environment and hear the stories of enterprising women who had succeeded on their own terms.