Women’s event redressed the balance

Jane Robinson of Cutting Technologies, winner of Top SME at the City Region Business Awards 2014 and a speaker at the MADE Festival's Celebration of Female Entrepeneurship, pictured with husband John Collier
Jane Robinson of Cutting Technologies, winner of Top SME at the City Region Business Awards 2014 and a speaker at the MADE Festival's Celebration of Female Entrepeneurship, pictured with husband John Collier
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A Celebration of Female Entrepreneurship set up to redress the balance of the man-centric fringe events running around last week’s MADE 2014 Festival proved one of its most successful.

Over 130 people attended, many of them women running their own companies and high profile female professionals, turning a knee-jerk event into a festival highlight.

“It certainly didn’t deserve the title ‘fringe’! The event was a huge success. The speakers were inspiring and engaging and people left feeling very positive and upbeat. It really did celebrate the successes of some great female business owners. I believe those attendees who didn’t have a business idea soon will,” said Kate Stephenson, Sheffield Chamber of Commerce & Industry Events Manager and Chair of Inspiring Women, the group who collaborated with Sheffield University’s Management School to stage the event.

The idea was down to one man, though; the University Management School’s head of External Relations, Ian Proctor.

“It was Ian who recognised that while the line up of speakers at the MADE conference was fantastic, there were no fringe events specifically for female entrepreneurs,” said Kate.

Commented Ian Proctor: “We were delighted to join with the Inspiring Women network to host an event celebrating female entrepreneurship as part of the festival. In addition to securing Lorely Burt MP, the Government spokesperson for female entrepreneurship, we secured three exciting speakers who shared their journey to becoming a successful entrepreneur.”

Jane Robinson, director of Barnsley cutting and engraving company Cutting Technologies and winner of 2014 top SME at the Sheffield City Region Awards, told how, after 20 years’ experience in engineering and manufacturing, she set up Cutting Technologies in 2003 and now has a £3m turnover and a staff of 32.

Other inspirational speakers were award-winning entrepreneur and management consultant Therese Sopie Kindal, CEO of Unleash, a disruptive innovator in the management education and consulting industry, and Laila Pawlak, who runs award-winning company DARE2, a world-leading experience design agency and think-tank.