Festival of Female Entrepreneurs

Festival of Female Entrepreneurs returned to Bristol for its sixth year on 20 October and brought together some of the UK's most influential female entrepreneurs, business leaders and brightest start-ups to share advice on starting and scaling a business.

The festival was hosted at the brand new and beautiful Bristol Harbour Hotel & Spa.

Replay the amazings insights and inspiration from the event here

Want to be part of the Festival for Female Entrepreneurs next year? Register for your interest for 2018.

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10.00am: Welcome from Emma Jones, founder of Enterprise Nation and Asher Craig, deputy mayor for Bristol

10.15am: 'Why I turned down the Dragons' interviewed by 'the one that got away' 

Rob Law, founder of kids travel accessories company Trunki, who was turned down for investment on TV's Dragons' Den but went on to achieve massive success, interviews Julianne Ponan, founder of Creative Nature, who secured investment on the show but turned it down.

10.40am: Square up to your brand sales

Sarah Harvey, head of UK for payments company Square interviews a panel of retailers for top tips on how to grow your sales:

  • Rebecca Jay, founder, Dodo Pad 
  • Paula Field, manager, South Street Kitchen 
  • Carrie Hyndman, founder, Junkbox Couture 

11.10am: Sourcing celebrities as brand ambassadors

Emma Jones interviews a panel of business owners who have had success with sourcing celebrities as brand ambassadors

  • Geeta Sidhu-Robb, CEO & founder, Nosh Detox
  • Tricia Cusden, founder, Look Fabulous Forever

11.40am: Coffee break

12.00pm: It's bloomin' marvellous 

Aron Gelbard, founder of online success story Bloom & Wild, explains how he's building a subscription business 

12.30pm: Taking my brand global

Dan Martin, head of content at Enterprise Nation, interviews a panel of business owners who are exploring new markets around the world to find out how they've done it, their successes, challenges and top tips

  • Caroline Jackson, chief executive, Little Women
  • Joanna Morgan, director, Radnor Preserves

1.00pm: Lunch

Eat in by selecting the lunch option when you purchase your ticket, or step outside for an hour and have a break at your own leisure in the heart of Bristol's Old City

2.00pm: There's nothing more lucrative than loyalty 

Edwina Dunn, serial entrepreneur and inventor of Tesco Clubcard, shares her thoughts on loyalty and why it’s key to business success

2.30pm: Could the UK become the Silicon Valley of government technology?

Emma Jones interviews Daniel Korski CBE, a former special adviser to prime minister David Cameron and co-founder and CEO of Public, a venture firm focused on helping technology start-ups transform public services

3.00pm Digital disruptors: What’s next for digital?

What’s next for digital and where you should be concentrating your efforts as a small business owner? Jamie Middleton, editor of TechSpark  interviews a panel of experts:

  • Jazz Gakhal, director, Direct Line For Business
  • Zoe Hominick, head of business marketing, O2 Business
  • Helen Smyth, head of SMB community engagement, Facebook

3.30pm: Return of the Female Start-up of the Year 

Mel Bounds, founder of This Mum Runs, discusses the past 12 months since being crowned Female Start-up of the Year 2016

4.00pm: Coffee 

4.30pm: Competition: Female Start-up of the Year 2017

Three Enterprise Nation members will pitch live on stage with the chance of winning the title of Female Start-up of the Year 2017.

As well as the title itself, the winner will win a whole host of business support prizes to help them grow their business.

The competition will be judged by:

  • Helen Smyth, head of SMB community engagement, Facebook
  • Mel Bound, founder, This Mum Runs
  • Mike Jackson, investor, entrepreneur & director of scale-ups at Shaw & Co
  • Sharron Gunn, executive director, ICAEW
  • Alison Edgar, The Entrepreneur's Godmother
  • Carolyn Radford, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Mansfield Town FC

5.00pm: Challenging the norm: Carolyn Radford, serial entrepreneur and CEO of Mansfield Town FC

Carolyn accepted the position of chief executive officer at Mansfield Town at the age of just 29, becoming the youngest football CEO in the country, a title she still holds. Since then, she has helped mastermind the club’s return to the English Football League and has transformed the club’s previously plummeting finances, to become a business that is now expected to become profitable this financial year.

She is widely seen as a pioneer in defending equality and fairness within the game. Carolyn's passion lies in challenging the norm, and challenging perceptions. Along with her position at Mansfield Town Football Club, Carolyn is a director of One Call Insurance, OCL Solicitors and beauty salon, Beauty at Doncaster.

5.30pm: Drinks reception: Join us for a drink to celebrate #FFE17

6.30pm: Event closes 


A one day ticket costs £49.00 inc VAT providing all day access to the keynote stage plus the evening drinks reception from 5pm - 6pm.

There will be a one hour lunch break, and you can either head out into the city centre or add on a lunch ticket for an additional £10 inc VAT which includes:

  • Freshly prepared sandwich 
  • Premium crisps
  • Piece of seasonal fruit
  • Bottle of mineral water

Please note Enterprise Nation members will be invited to an exclusive pre-festival drinks reception the night before the festival at Bristol Harbour hotel. Not a member yet? Purchase annual membership with your ticket below.

If you can't make the day event, but would like to join us for the evening drinks reception, you can buy a drinks reception only ticket for just £10.00 inc VAT.

Follow the event on Facebook and on Twitter with #FFE17

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Find out what our audience from 2016 thought of their day at the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs:


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Travelling from outside Bristol? Book your travel with our travel partner Great Western Railway