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Female entrepreneurs

The February series of the Enterprise Tuesday series at Cambridge Judge Business School included a focus on women entrepreneurs. Here are some takeaways from one of the sessions.

Portrait of young woman entrepreneur smiling and looking happy while sitting on a brightly coloured chair in a naturally lit contemporary office surrounded by glass windows.

Women are creative, resilient, skilled entrepreneurs, creating and scaling great businesses with a valuable social impact. Many of these businesses are in some of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic – retailing and the ‘3Cs’ of catering, care and cleaning – so the past year has been very challenging.

During “Enterprise Tuesday – Motivation: The Journey from Zero” on 9 February, four successful women entrepreneurs shared their motivations and how they stay resilient through the ups and downs.

The online session was chaired by Rebecca Hill, Founder of Wise Sherpa. Guest panellists were Zoe Peden, tech entrepreneur and VC Investor, FutureWorldVC; Helene Martin Gee, Founder of Savvitas; and Angela Malik-Agarwal, Partner in Think Hospitality and Founder of Planet Nourish.  

Here are some edited excerpts of the discussion:

Starting up

Zoe Peden: “I turned my life upside down when I started my first business. It was all a new start for me.”

Angela Malik-Agarwal: “Think about: what are you are passionate about? Evolve your life, career and ambitions. As an entrepreneur, you are in the cocoon phase until you break out as a success, like a butterfly.”

Rebecca Hill: “Nothing is ever wasted. Everything you do is a building block. Entrepreneurship can come at any point. If you don’t try, you will never know. You will quickly find out whether it works or not.”

Helene Martin Gee: “Look for opportunities and look for problems you can solve.”

Goal setting builds resilience

Zoe Peden: “Set weekly goals at the beginning to assess your progress. Enjoy those first few months of freedom and enjoy learning how to build your own thing. Be wary, but the journey is amazing.”

Helene Martin Gee: “If you’re an entrepreneur you have to have ‘Bouncebackability’ as your middle name. I don’t believe in looking back. I have learned every step of the way.”

The power of networks

Angela Malik-Agarwal: “Don’t be afraid or intimidated to reach out to the first, second or third level of your network, or to someone you have read about. Talk to people around you. Try to get in touch with people who have successfully exited.”

Enterprise Tuesday events are organised by the Entrepreneurship Centre of Cambridge Judge Business School, and held on Tuesdays in November, February and May each year. Other topics in the February series were: “Inspiration: The Journey from Zero”, “Realisation: The Journey from Zero” and “Creating a Category”. The Enterprise Tuesday series in May will discuss the role of entrepreneurship in tackling climate change.