Female-focussed businesses from all across the south west came together to celebrate the passion and enthusiasm of women business owners and entrepreneurs in the region when Britain’s biggest business group staged its first regional ‘Women in Enterprise’ conference.

Alison North

Taking place in the same week as International Women’s Day, the FSB (Federation of Small Businesses) hosted the virtual event featuring speakers, panel sessions and networking which attracted attendees from Cornwall, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire, Bath, Devon, Bristol and Somerset.

Among the sessions on the day were a look at how businesses have adapted during the pandemic and the current and future financial considerations for small business owners.

Speakers included Deborah Turner, the FSB’s National Lead for Women in Business and, Caroline Derrick who spoke about Somerset’s ground-breaking ‘100 Women First’ initiative.

There was also an array of panellists including a Bristol-based representative from the Bank of England plus award-winning south west business owners such as Somerset cookery school owner Bini Ludlow and Cornish skincare company boss Amanda Winwood.

The day-long event was part of a series of events to highlight ‘Women in Enterprise’ run nationally by the FSB and one of the local volunteer organisers Alison North, who is the FSB Area Lead in Wiltshire, said she was delighted with how it all went.

“It couldn’t have gone better,” she said. “All the speakers were on point and engaging. From tips on tax and pointers on how to win awards to developing a vodka business and adapting to changing times, the topics discussed were wide reaching and business focussed. The day was an opportunity for everyone to hear motivating stories and learn about aspects of business from the perspective of others.

“The audience took part via the chat feed, joined in with comments and questions and made many new connections. I felt that the energy was positive all day and I do hope that everyone took something away with them to help with their business.

“International Women’s Day is not just about a call to action on gender parity it is about celebrating women’s achievements be they social, economic, cultural, political. I believe our event here in the south west achieved all of that and more. I’d like to thank everyone who took part as well as fellow volunteers who supported the day and colleagues who worked behind the scenes to ensure the event ran smoothly.

You can find out more about FSB by visiting www.fsb.org.uk and for information on other FSB Women In Enterprise events, click here.