I am delighted to share this article on behalf of Natwest and I am also thrilled to be one of the 100 women recognised in Milton Keynes.
2020 has been a difficult year for many but the Mum to Mum community & my business network stood strong and supported each other which is why I love my digital communities.
We’re celebrating the stories of 100 incredible women in the South East who are challenging gender bias, supporting their communities and leading their businesses through rapid change.
As we near the one-year anniversary of the UK’s first national coronavirus lockdown, it’s more important than ever that we seize opportunities to celebrate businesses leaders who have thrived in the face of adversity.
This International Women’s Day NatWest, in partnership with Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OXLEP), South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and the Cambridge and Peterborough Combined Authority, is spotlighting 100 women from across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc who have worked tirelessly in their local communities or shown resilience in leading their business through a period of rapid change – and they’re inviting women from across the UK to join the celebration.
“This year, the NatWest Milton Keynes team felt it was only right to capture the magic, inspiration and resilience shown by women right across the region, whose stories will resonate in every household, every business and every community,” says Sharon Rai, diversity and inclusion partner, NatWest Commercial Banking.
“The challenges every single person has faced over the past 12 months have been exceptional, and time and time again it’s relationships, community, friendship and support that has gotten individuals through experiences far outside of their control.”
And, as we join together to #ChooseToChallenge gender bias and inequality this International Women’s Day, “it’s important to know that when we look to make a change for good, we never stand alone,” says Rai.
Richard Byard, director of Business Development at OXLEP, says that International Women’s Day is a fantastic opportunity for the LEP to celebrate the strength of talent within the region. “As the Local Enterprise Partnership for Oxfordshire, it’s important for us to inspire women of all ages to understand the opportunities that exist in business,” he says, “whether it be giving women the confidence to start their own business, discover what apprenticeships can bring, or realise the world-leading sectors and organisations that all call Oxfordshire ‘home’.”
As well as hosting a live event on 8 March inviting inspiring women from across the region to share their experiences in a joint conversation, NatWest and SEMLEP will be launching their #ChooseToChallenge ebook celebrating all 100 nominated women from the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
One of the women to feature in our Inspiring Women e-book is Niki Tibble, co-founder of More Trees, a tech-led platform aiming to make tree planting and carbon offsetting easy for businesses and individuals. She’s ‘choosing to challenge’ by helping people and businesses make a more positive impact on the planet – and letting them know that climate action cannot wait for the pandemic to be over.
“I set up a business during the pandemic (during a lockdown and on a Sunday night!) because there is no better time to take climate action than now,” says Tibble. “Starting a business during 2020 wasn’t the easiest, but we haven’t let it hold us or other businesses back. We’ve helped over 600 businesses plant thousands of trees, during only three months of being live.” More Trees will also be planting 100 trees in honour of the 100 women nominated from across the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.
“The saying goes; you can be, what you can’t see,” says Vicky Hlomuka, manager at SEMLEP’s Growth Hub. “And as you will see, the Oxford to Cambridge Arc is full of inspirational women in business. It’s fantastic to bring together female entrepreneurs to celebrate achievements, discuss barriers to growth and form a community for resilience now, and in the future.”
NatWest Article & EBook: https://natwestbusinesshub.com/articles/iwd2021-women-who-choose-to-challenge
To join the Milton Keynes NatWest Accelerator International Women’s Day event, register here: www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/natwest-international-womens-day-celebrations-2021-tickets-138942447601
National campaign and theme: https://www.internationalwomensday.com/theme