Posted: Thu 18th Jul 2019
As the full agenda for the eighth Festival of Female Entrepreneurs on 18 October is revealed, Enterprise Nation's head of events explains why it's her favourite event of the year.
By 31 December this year, Enterprise Nation will have run over 300 small business events in 2019. It's been our busiest year to date, which tells us that physical events aren't dying and business owners still like to get out to learn and to network.
It's also the eighth year of the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs in Bristol, an event that has grown significantly over the years and had its debut in Scotland this June due to popular demand.
As head of events and campaigns, I'm lucky enough to work on some truly amazing events at Enterprise Nation. You might ask how can I possibly choose a favourite?
But Festival of Female Entrepreneurs wins the crown for me, and here's why:
Icons share their awe-inspiring stories
Some of Britain's most famous entrepreneurs have taken to the stage over the years to share honest and open accounts of their success including the likes of Julie Deane, founder of Cambridge Satchel Company. Last year, Emma Bridgewater took to the stage to share the story of her 300-person business. When she finished, she received a standing ovation and found herself a little teary! It was an amazing moment.
This year we will welcome Dame Shirley Stephanie to the festival, who came to Britain as a child refugee. In the face of adversity, she has become one of the nation's most successful entrepreneurs and made many of her employees millionaires in the process. I'm pretty sure a standing ovation might be on the cards for her too.
Some event attendees return year after year
It's penned in their diary all year; they've already bought the ticket and told their friends they will be there! They know this is a chance for them to have an annual day out of their business, to learn, to network and to be inspired. I love seeing their faces in the audience every year and hearing how their businesses are progressing. Often they've gone from side hustle, to full time and even to hiring people. It's truly brilliant to hear their progress.
The atmosphere is second to none
I might be biased as a woman, but the atmosphere is electric at this event. I think women are great at being cheerleaders for each other's success. It's a supportive and courageous community and this event is a true reflection of that.
Bristol is pretty awesome
Bristol is such an eclectic city with an array of brilliant and creative entrepreneurs. Half the audience that come to the event are local (but many travel from far and wide). The line-up also features great local speakers. It's a great way to highlight and showcase the brilliant businesses and business support that this city has to offer.
The advice is up there with some of the best on offer
Event partners such as Facebook, ICAEW, Square and Dell are on hand to offer advice on everything from social media to cash flow forecasting. Plus the business advice zone is ideal for those who want to get one to one advice on topics such as PR, hiring people, web design and much more. My recommendation would be to make a list of your challenges and bring it with you. I guarantee you'll get some answers.
If you're an Enterprise Nation member, you can apply to share advice in the business advice zone here.
You can go Christmas shopping
I know it's July and I've mentioned the C word! However, by 18 October it will be the perfect time for Christmas shopping. Enterprise Nation members showcase fantastic products in the market area which is powered by Square. Last year you could buy lightboxes, hand creams, books, make-up and much more from local small business owners.
If you're an Enterprise Nation member, you can apply to sell your products in the market here.
The whole Enterprise Nation team is involved
There's no doubt it's a busy team who are often head down or out and about making sure you guys get the best support available. But for this one day, the team seem to put down their tools and get completely immersed.
They might not get all the glam jobs (carrying boxes, putting up banners etc which I often make them do) but one sure thing is that they will be on hand to make sure you have the best day possible.