“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.”

“There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women.” This was originally said by Madeleine Albright, but on Wednesday night it was reiterated by Eleanor Mills, the Editorial Director of The Sunday Times. It’s a hell of a statement and as you can see from the picture below it was delivered to a room full of women. It wasn’t just said as part of a cliched “women unite” but was said during, what my notes describe as, a fiercely powerful speech.New Entrepreneurs Foundation

Wednesday night, on the recommendation from the Free:formers crew, I attended an event held by the New Entrepreneurs Foundation aimed at encouraging more women into entrepreneurship. I didn’t have any expectations prior to arriving but the event was incredibly inspiring. Three of the panel members particularly resonated with me: Benita Matofska, Eleanor Mills and Geeta Sidhu-Robb.

Zara Pearson explaining what NEF looks for in candidates
Zara Pearson explaining what NEF looks for in candidates

Benita Matofska – Founder of Compare and Share. She shared 4 “P’s” you should follow when creating a business:

  1. Passion – be passionate about what you do.
  2. Purpose – whatever you do, do it with purpose (I love this all the more so because it reminds me of the toast Will Smith gives in Hitch). “Business is now about conscious business, it’s about collaboration”.
  3. Perseverance – don’t take no for an answer.
  4. Persuasive.

Urgghh! I’ve written that five different times and no matter how I write it I just cannot capture how impactful it was when delivered by Benita.

Eleanor Mills – as I mentioned above her speech was fiercely powerful. She is an advocate. And boy does she advocate. She warned us all not to get complacent and reminded us that we don’t have to choose. We really can have it all. I think in relation to this I’m not so sure I agree. I feel like whilst we no longer have to choose one or the other, we do have to choose the order in which we try to achieve it, and that impacts your other choices. Do you choose to settle down first? Start a business? Have a child? Either way we should be helping one another.

Geeta Sidhu-Robb – Geeta created Nosh Detox and was delightfully honest, controversial and open with the audience. She told us all about how she had failed in life before she succeeded (or rather in between her successes). The Americans are really big on encouraging you to fail, because it means that you’ve tried, whereas over here we tend to do that whole British thing of “dahhhling you may lose everything, just stay in your job and marry a rich man”. One of my favourite moments of Geeta’s intro was when she said that the worst thing about being poor was losing her private jet… I totally felt her pain. 😀

So all in all the night was incredibly motivating. I do think it was a shame that the opposite sex didn’t get to attend as I think the panel had such inspirational (ok, how many times have I used that word now) stories that they really transcend genders but I have to say that the New Entrepreneurs Foundation did an amazing job! They’re currently recruiting a new cohort of applicants (all sexes welcome) so if you fancy being paid to learn about entrepreneurship and being funded whilst you come up with ideas then you have until February 21st – good luck!

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