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Women in Business Event is an Inspiring Success

Women in Business Event at Lanwades HallThere was a fantastic turn out at the Women in Business Event at Lanwades Hall, near Newmarket on Tuesday the 3rd of October. With over 60 Women and men, arriving to hear from some of the key women in creating and managing successful businesses and in public office talk about innovation, technology and challenging stereotypes.  The presentations were engaging, enjoyable and packed full of lots of interesting information on a range of industries and pathways to success and highlighted issues which are limiting women in education and business, which were not what you thought they may be.

Helping to celebrate the 100 Years of Women, and as part of the West Suffolk Business Festival, the New Anglia LEP, New Anglia Growth Hub, Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Tech East, Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Councils came together to create this great opportunity to hear these highly influential and successful women talk about innovation, developing talent, growing your businesses, challenging gender stereotypes in industry and women in public office.

Sarah Howard MBE, VP British Chamber of Commerce was an excellent Chair for the event.  Previously the President of the Suffolk Chamber, Sarah is passionate about our local businesses.  Her own experiences and comments on business in the area and the role women play in this was very inspiring and set the scene for the speaker who followed. Sarah introduced two sessions, Innovation in Technology, that included; Hayley Johnson, COO of Epos Now, one of the fastest growing technology businesses in the UK and Astrid Bjorvig, Product Owner at Derivco, a leader in designing trailblazing technology for Microgaming, one of the world’s biggest suppliers of online gaming.  Both Hayley and Astrid were enlightening about their industries and keen to highlight that it is important to ensure you work doing what you love, not to be limited by our own thoughts of what we can and cannot do, or what industries may or may not suit you, as anything is possible.

The second session ‘Challenging Stereotypes’.  Guests heard from the inspirational Sandy Ruddock, Co-Founder of Scarlett and Mustard, who discussed the creation and the continued growth of her businesses, and the challenges you face as a business person in the current climates, as well as balancing family and business. They also heard from the fantastic Lecturer in Engineering at West Suffolk College Molly Dalton.  Molly talked about being both young and female in the engineering world and how we need to encourage the young women coming through to take up the ‘traditionally’ male lead industries.  Lastly, by no means least, Sian Cook, Research Analyst for the University of Suffolk, took to the lectern.  Sian provided an entertaining and very enlightening presentation on her projects combining technology to combat loneliness and her experiences in a male orientated world.

The event ended with a question and answer panel of all of the speakers and also included Cllr. Sarah Stamp, who is also Director of local business Infusions, who was very passionate about her role as a business owner and being part of the Public Office and boards, to help increase the balance in these areas with regards to representations for business and women.

Overall, the main messages of this enthusiastically received event, highlighted the need for us all to empower our younger generation of women to ensure they do not feel they have limits and no avenue is closed to them. Discussions are in place for another event next year, so keep a lookout and don’t miss out.