International Women’s Day is celebrated around the globe on 8th March to showcase and applaud the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
CASE, as a predominately female-led organisation, has always been a champion for women in entrepreneurship, guiding women to realise their potential and to follow their business dreams.
We often meet women who have a well thought out idea but are nervous about taking the next steps to make their business a reality because of various issues including (but not limited to) preconceptions about combining work and family life, perceived lack of business or management skills and stigma relating to social class or educational background.
Lots of female-led businesses that we have supported over the years have faced these issues and many more head on, emerging victorious to establish and run successful, long lasting businesses, many of which have gone on to win local and national accolades.
Shepshed Carers Co-operative, which recently celebrated its 22nd birthday, was set up after its two founding members, both women, were made redundant and feared that they would be unable to find other employment. The co-operative has won awards for its work and was invited to speak at 10 Downing Street about their successes and how these could be replicated across the country.
Somali Development Services was set up by Jawaahir Daahir on her arrival in the UK from The Hague in the late Nineties. As one of the first Somali arrivals in Leicester, Jawaahir realised that there was a need to assist the newly arriving community with their integration into Leicester life, whether this was through language classes or assistance with other tasks such as registering with schools or local medical practices, growing SDS into an invaluable asset for the local community. For her work within the Somali community Jawaahir was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2015 in recognition of her tireless dedication to the community.
Just Fairtrade, established and led by founder Sarah Shepherd, is more than just a very successful shop selling Fairtrade goods in the heart of Leicester. Just Fairtrade places a heavy emphasis on community education, going into the heart of the community to show and explain products and to organise talks from Fairtrade producers and farmers. The business works closely with Lanka Kade, a fairtrade manufacturer based in Sri Lanka and through this successful partnership has brought change to the lives of Sri Lankan communities through fairer wages, sustainable employment and safe working conditions.
This is just a tiny snapshot of some of the incredible women (and their businesses) we have been blessed to work with over the years and just goes to show that if you want something then there is no such thing as a barrier, merely an obstacle to move around.
If you would like to share your experiences of being a Woman in Entrepreneurship with us we do have a survey that we would love for you to fill in – click here to take the survey.