A line up of influential women inspired more than 100 entrepreneurs and business owners and managers at an event hosted by Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and Breakthrough Women marking International Women’s Day.
The event welcomed computer scientist Dr Sue Black OBE, who was recently named in the list of top 50 women in tech in Europe and nominated as the 119th most influential woman in the world.
Dr Black was joined by speakers Dr Patricia Lewis (pictured below), Reader in Management at University of Kent and an expert in gender issues at work, as well as Sarah Luxford of Croydon Tech City, a passionate advocate of diversity in the work place.
Deborah Turner, FSB Kent Area Leader and member of FSB Women in Enterprise Taskforce, said: “Research shows that women have fewer opportunities to meet other women with robust business experience and are less likely to see people like themselves succeeding. This International Women’s Day event celebrated the success of women in enterprise. The speakers were inspiring – each had valuable advice to impart.”
The UK currently has 5.7 million small businesses and self-employed, but it is estimated that could be boosted by a further 1.2 million new enterprises led by women. This untapped business potential of women can be tackled, in part, by increasing the visibility of role models for women entrepreneurs, according to an FSB report.
Dr Patricia Lewis, said: “Women have come a long way since some of us were awarded the vote 100 years ago. While celebrating the equality gains secured over the past century, we should also be mindful of the work still to be done – increasing the numbers of women in senior management positions, narrowing the gender pay gap, supporting more women who want to set up their own business. International Women’s Day reminds us of our successes and also energises us to continue to pursue full equality for all in those areas where disparities persist.”
Sarah Luxford, Croydon Tech City, said: “All businesses are now tech businesses; gaining insights into digital skills and their application is critical for our future success.
Events such as these inspire and demystify working in tech whilst providing an incredible platform for networking and personal growth. I'm delighted have been part of this!”
Sue Nelson, CEO and Founder, Breakthrough Group, said: “Currently 83% of people who work in tech are men, which means our household products, apps, games, phones, computers and cars are being designed almost exclusively without female input.
“There are huge opportunities in the digital sector, and a predicted shortfall of a million jobs in the near future. I see so many women wanting to go into producing local food or into the service sector. Don’t! Stop making chutney and get into digital. We need you.”