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Celebrating women in Enterprise

27 November 2017

Panel of speakers at Celebrating Women in Enterprise event
L-R: Dr Margo Thomas, Tasnim Usman, Helen Walbey, Carol Cooke and Sonia Brown

The challenges facing women entrepreneurs in Wales and Africa were explored by an inspirational panel at an event co-hosted by the Responsible Innovation Network and the Federation of Small Businesses, Wales at Cardiff Business School.

Following a screening of Barefoot in Business, a documentary film which celebrates the remarkable efforts of business women in Uganda, the panel discussed the challenges facing women’s economic empowerment in Wales and the world.

By way of introduction Carol Cooke, CEO of Scrumptious Productions the company which produced the film, outlined her ambition to change the world one film at a time.

She shared insights from her high impact, BAFTA award-winning social documentaries and the way in which Scrumptious pride themselves on turning movies into movements.

Be the change

Dr Margo Thomas, CEO of Women’s Economic Imperative and former Chief of the Secretariat supporting the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, followed.

Using the film as a platform, Dr Thomas implored the audience of nascent women entrepreneurs, students and others to ‘be the change’ that makes economic empowerment a reality for all.

Dr Thomas said: “Women’s economic empowerment is a global issue. The same systemic constraints and basic challenges are faced by women entrepreneurs and workers in developed and developing countries, even though the manifestations and scale may vary.

“And so it is really encouraging to see events of this kind being held in celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week...”

“It is essential that we engage the private sector, policymakers, civil society and academia in developing and implementing solutions to benefit all of society – men and women, boys and girls.”

Dr Margo Thomas CEO of Women’s Economic Imperative

A motivational presentation followed from Sonia Brown, Founder and Director of the National Black Women’s Network (NBWN). Ms Brown shared the lessons learned founding the NBWM and urged those who had achieved success to give the next in line a helping hand through education and opportunity.

Tasnim Usman, a scholarship student at St John’s College, also shared a deeply personal insight into her experiences growing up in Cardiff and the journey of self-discovery she is enjoying through educational empowerment.

The panel concluded with a motivational address from event co-organiser, Helen Walbey, Policy Chair for Health and Diversity, Federation of Small Businesses, who shared a wonder woman ritual of her own making.

“We can achieve great things with the right environment, the right people and the right support, we all have an inner Wonder Woman and just need to be able to set her free to achieve our dreams.”

Helen Walbey Policy Chair for Health and Diversity, Federation of Small Businesses

The discussion was chaired by the University’s Dean of Engagement, Professor Kevin Morgan.

“This fantastic event aligns with the very best elements of our public value business school. It is innovative, challenge-led, interdisciplinary, and engages widely with staff, students and the business community.”

Professor Martin Kitchener Professor of Public Sector Management and Policy

Before the film screening, the School was transformed into a pop-up high street for new and emerging women entrepreneurs from the local community.

The event was also an opportunity for the School’s MSc Business, Strategy and Entrepreneurship students to showcase their research projects on entrepreneurs through history.

Professor Kitchener added: “One of the outcomes of our bold Public Value Strategy is to develop global citizens with the confidence and critical capacity to challenge the status quo and provoke change. It’s therefore encouraging to see our students gaining exposure at public value-led events such as this.”

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