Propel Women's Entrepreneur Conference

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Propel Women's Entrepreneur Conference

Propel Women's Conference

HGEM's Sally Whelan, Rich New, Rachael Head and Chloe Walker share their top takeaways from Tuesday’s event.

Ann Elliott, elliotts kicked off the event sharing her journey and how inspiring other women has become a significant part of her life. She expressed the importance of bringing control into your life and then going for it.

Thomasina Miers, Wahaca discussed how to ascertain if your business idea is genius or madness. Tommi (as everyone calls her) said Masterchef was one of the hardest things she has done but it gave her the PR she needed to launch Wahaca – influenced by several trips to Mexico where she experienced food and flavours she couldn’t find in the UK. She emphasised the importance of changing and adapting to keep up with the crowd (and to not be afraid of this). Competition is healthy, drives creativity and will help to make you an ‘expert in your market’. Above all 'People will always have a negative view on your idea. Do your research, feel confident and enjoy the ride'.

Nisha Katona, Mowgli gave an inspiring and down to earth talk about her crazy journey from Barrister to Bunny Chow. She is passionate that women need to get out there and become entrepreneurs and that the only thing stopping them is them! Mowgli’s business values are: Grace. Intelligence. Graft. At the end of the day, Nisha was presented with the award for The Wireless Social Women’s Entrepreneur of the Year which was richly deserved.

Next up was Sophie Bathgate, Sophies Steakhouse, who shared that 75% of CEO’s suffer from Imposter syndrome and that if she were to do it all again, she would let go, accept expert advice and take time to step back and feel her emotions. Her proudest moment to date was opening her restaurant and serving the first dishes to customers.

Alison Frith, Artizian discussed how to make a start-up. Alison has grown her business based on her passion for health and wellbeing – the strongest brands start with emotions. Ask yourself what can you be the best in the world at? Your best marketing tool is you.

Sally Jackson, The Pink Pig Farm gave a very funny talk about the ’10 hardest lessons I’ve learnt’- she gave great tips on finding the right balance between work and life, promoting that not everything has to be perfect - you can compromise and still succeed. She runs a farm shop/café/farm and recently had to close her shop as it wasn’t making any money - this was her baby and hard for her to let go but made business sense to cut her losses.

Laura Harper-Hilton, Caravan discussed why people are key to your success and to focus on the following points:

  • The apple core – the solid foundation – these are your business partners:
    1. Are they the right people?
    2. Are your interests, values and goals aligned?
    3. Are you a good flavour combo?
  • The Veg patch – vision values and victory - building, growing and nurturing your team:
    1. Hire people based on the 51% – 51% emotion intelligence and then hire based on skill
    2. Set up an internal team based on community and sustainability – create activities in the business
  • The Harvest - you - look after yourself!

Sally Whelan, HGEM’s Founding Director commented: “It was so refreshing to hear real stories told by women that make you feel proud to be part of this amazing industry. Ann Elliott and her team, Propel, and the sponsors created a brilliant day.”

Rich New, HGEM’s Insight Manager commented: “The day was very inspiring listening to all these incredibly talented and hard-working women. The stories told were those of passion, dedication and collaboration and I certainly learnt a lot from their amazing experiences. Certainly, lots of lessons for all within the industry too. The UK still has a long was to go with equality across all industries and I wish for a future where more women are celebrated, promoted and achieve great successes throughout the hospitality industry.”

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