From October 2015 to April 2016 I have been taking part in the Women's Enterprise Kent course. I was so pleased to have been accepted onto the programme as many Kent women entrepreneurs applied for but only 30 of us were lucky enough to get a place!
The scheme was a government initiative set up by the equalities office to help promote women in business all over the country, develop their digital skills and grow their businesses, and was all completely free! My local council, KCC, organised the events throughout the six months the programme was running in various interesting locations. Some of the events were open to women who were not on the core programme but still welcome to join in the tutorials, which led to lots of extra networking!
Here is Lucy, one of the course organisers, giving us a brilliant tutorial on Canva, which I enjoyed discovering, as it is a creative platform totally new to me! Much of what I personally learned I did not even realise was available to me and we were taught how to use these tools for our businesses. Many notes have been made as there was so much information to take in and I'm sure I will be applying as much as I can to my business in the coming months and years.
Photograph courtesy of Jane Mucklow Photography
Above is a photograph from a Lunch and Learn session held at County Hall in Maidstone with the guys from Engine Room Web, helping us to create our websites and analyze what we had built already. These were just two the amazing professional speakers we were lucky enough to have expertise advice from. Others included Zoe Cairns,TV social media expert, helping us with Facebook tips, Emma Cox with Linkedin advise, Lucy Hall on Pinterest and Daniel Knowlton on Snapchat, to name a few!
Above at Port Lympne another beautiful photograph courtesy of Jane Mucklow Photography
My most memorable and enjoyable event was the day we spent at Port Lympne in January. This was a huge networking and learning event hosted by the fabulous Eileen Brown, CEO of Amastra and set in the most amazing location on a beautiful sunny day! We had a speed social media session, lots of networking, great speakers including Susannah Schofield OBE and from Allister Frost from Wild Orange Media and some great food!
We had many useful tutorials from accounting to Pinterest, with Deborah Turner owner of You Image Consultancy, to name a few. Above we had a tutorial by Laura Gillespie from Pie Accounts on cloud based accounting which I found helpful!
Here are just a few of us celebrating in the photo booth on the last day of the course at County Hall, we couldn't fit everyone in!
The final event was a treat for us all with more amazing speakers including Hilary Steel editor of Kent Women in Business (KWIB) magazine and founder of Kent Women in Business Awards (and more!), plus Penny Power OBE, who has written the Manifesto for Digital Business Britain, not to mention award winning marketing agency owner Amy McManus amongst others!
All the women on the course were invited to showcase their business during the event and so I took the opportunity to display a selection of my dresses! Also wearing one of my designs!
Me and my dresses! Photographed by the lovely Jane Mucklow of Jane Mucklow Photography!
The final event was very inspiring! Personally for me, I could look back and see how far I have come and what I have achieved! I believe it has had a very positive impact on me by improving my confidence not only within my digital skills, but has boosted my self confidence too! There is so muchto tellthat I have NOT included in this blog, but if you get the chance to learn anything new or are interested in starting your own business then my advice is just do it! Also if you get the chance to take part on this course next year I highly recommend it!
One last note is a massive THANK YOU to all those who organised, hosted, contributed and of course to those responsible for funding the programme, the government and let's hope it is run for a third year and longer!
Close up photographs of my satin pleated peplum jacket (and me below with Louise, another of the organisers of the Women's Enterprise Kent programme) by Nikki Price Photography www.nikkipphotography.co.uk
Tea and cake at every event!