Welcome to a very poignant International Women’s Day.
This year it is so sad to remember where I was 2 years ago when I celebrated with my Siberian peer exchange and good friend Irina Makeeva and her family in Novosibirsk, followed by a trip to see Swan Lake. In the days following, I met so many amazing people interested in and actively engaging in making a difference to their local and regional economies through social enterprise and social innovation.
One of my most abiding memories, however, was when I listened to a disabled girl sing a popular tune at the local folklore school with her friends. She sang with so much passion and hope. She was due to sing the song with the star Jasmin who made the song a hit later that year, but then Covid19 intervened.
This year we have agreed with our Russian peers that we need to support one another symbolically – Women in Solidarity. We are making a small gesture of cooking each other’s national dishes. I have just made a big pot of Borsht!
Today we also celebrate a year of our Women’s Leadership Network which was launched on IWD21. In a world where women often don’t identify with the term ‘leader’ we have together to exchange stories, tips and thoughts from inspirational women. These are now all recorded and can be viewed on our YouTube channel. At today’s event we will be hearing from Daniela Papi-Thornton who will be speaking about her leadership journey and thoughts on reclaiming social entrepreneurship from the niche.
On Wednesday we are extending our celebrations to partner with out friends at Millfields Trust to run another women’s networking session in Plymouth on the theme of Breaking the Bias featuring Jenny Evans, an award winning young entrepreneur and artist. She studied textiles at Cardiff Metropolitan University, has won Santander’s University Entrepreneur’s national competition in 2017, and went on to set up a high growth, investor backed business in 2018 after raising a seed round of £350,000. It’s not too late to sign up!
Managing Director, Social Enterprise Mark CIC