She Inspires Magazine

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Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan: IN SUPPORT OF WOMEN Growing up in a small village outside of the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka, Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan couldn’t have imagined she would be changing the lives of countless women through supportive services here in the UK s the founding Trustee of the Zinthiya Trust, which does vital emotional and practical work to support women and families from disadvantaged backgrounds, Zinthiya Ganeshpanchan creates opportunities for open dialogue about women’s issues so that everyone has somewhere to turn to. She said: “Growing up in Sri Lanka I have witnessed the violence women and girls undergo and seen abject poverty and social exclusion. I have witnessed the impact of a prolonged conflict that led to communities being torn apart. These have taught me to value humanity, democracy and civil liberties that this country offers that we so often take for granted.” Her background laying the foundations for a future in helping and supporting women and girls who need it, Zinthiya’s strength of spirit and compassion is what powers her forward, “I have a strong desire to improve the lives of women. How I do that is by raising awareness on some of the hard issues that we usually don’t want to talk about or pretend that is not happening around,” she tells us. A published author, She Inspires magazine was another way for Zinthiya to support women in our local communities

from all walks of life, and it’s this support that will help to change the inequalities in women’s lives. “Despite the rhetoric of gender equality, women today continue to face many challenges. These inequalities are exacerbated by the patriarchal structures that govern every aspect of our life. The only way we can rise above these and challenge these power struggles is by supporting each other. “Even today we have women living below the poverty lines in our own city, we have women who do not receive the minimum wage let alone equal pay, we have women who are in debt bondage and sexual slavery, we have women who are being exploited in multiple ways due to destitution, we have women and girls who can’t afford to buy period products and are dropping off school. “These are some of the realities that we can’t afford to ignore. That is why it is important to not focus on our differences but look at the similarities that bind us as women and support each other more than ever,” Zinthiya expresses. If you need support with any of the issues mentioned in this article, call Zinthiya Trust on 0116 254 5168, email, or visit Always dial 999 in emergencies.


Introducing She Inspires


Women’s Networking


International Womens Day


Eileen Richards Of Er Recruitment Tells Her Story


How to set up a Social Enterprise


Bhumika Parmar of BP Legal Solicitors tells her story


How To Promote Your Brand-New Business


Why you shoild consider outsourcing HR


Amanda Daly of The Turnaround CEO tells her story


Ronke Kokoruwi of iverbalise tells her story


Jenny Cross of Cross Productions tells her story


Grants and Funding for start-ups


Coping With Covid: Coaching for Business


The advantages of financial forecasting and bookkeeping


Inspirational quotes


Poonam Doshi of Not Just Travel tells her Story

14 5 helpful tips for startup business owners 15

Girls Lead: Future leaders leading by example

CONTRIBUTORS Editorial Gemma Knight Emily Miller Kerry Smith Sally Smith Blessing Taiwo Design Susan Holmes Photography Jay Nandha Photography – Printed by Soar Valley Press – Marketing, sales, and partnerships Sally Smith

Product of Cross Productions Contact us Disclaimer – She Inspires and Cross Productions Ltd are fully protected by copyright; no part of this magazine may be reproduced or reprinted without the complete and expressed permission of the publisher. The greatest care has been taken to ensure accuracy, however, there can be no liability accepted by the publisher for errors and omissions. We can under no circumstance be held responsible for any materials, matter or photographical copy submitted for publication or not within the website or magazine. We cannot be held responsible or liable for any breaches of copyright from adverts, materials, or photography or any other such material supplied by a third party. The views and opinions expressed within our publications are not necessarily those of the publisher or indeed She Inspires or any featured parties.

Let us introduce:

SHE INSPIRES “We are privileged to share in each other’s lives and stories.” Words by Gemma Knight he Inspires (Global) is a Leicester based not for profit consultancy set up by Zinhtiya Ganeshpanchan in July 2018 providing training and support to community organisations, charities and social enterprises to start up and grow. Zinthiya is using her years of experience setting up and growing a charity and other social enterprises for the benefit of her clients. “There is very little support in out there for social organisations especially if you are in the start-up or at the very early stage of your journey, I know this because I have been there and have had to learn on the job.” What makes She Inspires different is not only the support is provided by individuals who have lived experiences in the field but also that the fact that the revenue generated by the company is then re-invested into building the capacity of women led organizations and to improve the lives of women and children affected by poverty and violence in developing countries. Since setting up in July 2018, the company have supported women entrepreneurs in Nepal to set up or grow their businesses as well as provided organisations development support to three other women led social

organisations in Sri Lanka focusing on women and children. The company has also undertaken a range of activities to improve the living standards of people living in extreme poverty in Sri Lanka responding to the need of the communities that we operate. In 2020 and 2021 they have also focused on supporting women and girls in Leicester and have invested to support local entrepreneurs through becoming an ambassador for the NICHE awards and the East midlands Women’s awards. Furthermore, through our She Inspires magazine we aim to raise the profile of women led businesses locally and nationally. The company is also working to launch our She inspires community and enterprise hub in early summer 2021 to increase its support to women to grow and thrive. The hub will be providing a range of services including practical support such as sharing resources and co-working facilities. “Given the impact the pandemic have had on women especially those who are running small businesses as well as those women who have been in low skilled under paid jobs we believe that this project is the best investment we can make in our community to improve the lives of women”

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Why we celebrate

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY We #ChooseToChallenge our oppressors and make a change in society for our future Words by Blessing Taiwo nternational Women’s Day is a yearly celebration of women and girls all around the world. Women who are hailed in the utmost regards for the works they have brought to society, and the challenges that come with being a woman, whether in the present or in the past. A day on which we celebrate the triumph of women reigning in the social, economic, cultural, political territory. This founded day specifically targets issues such as gender division and the rights of women. The date is set for the March 8 with the overall theme being #ChooseToChallenge, encouraging the of furthering into leadership: achieving an equal future in a Covid-19 world. The women in today’s society are frontline workers, health care workers, and mothers who have expressed tremendous acts of service to the community. International Women’s Day has a number of mottos that drive the campaign, one being in line with the Generation Equality Campaign, which flags women’s rights for an equal future in society. A world where a gender will not define how much you get paid; where the clothes you decide to wear don’t dehumanise you; and the corporate boardrooms you enter won’t look at you any differently because you are a woman. The global celebration of IWD is a time for individuals to

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reflect on what has happened in the past. It allows us to also think about future innovations we can implement in society, and actions that can also be taken to break down unfair notions of women and the hurdles faced. International Women’s Day is a movement that grows each and every year, a movement that has over a century of history to it. This history starts from the first observed National Women’s Day, undertaken by the United States on February 28, 1909. But the very first breakthrough was in 1848, where events had taken place that prevented women from being able to voice their opinions or concern at the anti-slavery convention. This caused an uproar and a demand of civil, social, political as well as religious rights for women in a declaration of resolution. Ever since, a movement was born. The activities of labour were then spread to North America and Europe. Now women all over the world are celebrating this very day, especially after the passing of World War II and receiving the blessing from the United Nations in 1977. Despite the progress that has occurred since International Women’s Day was first declared over 100 years ago, there’s still a long way to go in relation to women and men receiving the same opportunities and equal rights. Until then, women will continue to carry the flag and wave it until discrimination is no longer present.


A Social Enterprise Where to start and how to prove you’re working it Words by Kerry Smith A social enterprise is a business that aims to make the world a better place, or at least their local community. Your social enterprise should aim to make a profit but what you do with your profit will determine if your business is a social enterprise. You should be reinvesting your profits in ways that contribute to positive social change. A social enterprise can be anything from a coffee shop to a bank. Social enterprises create job opportunities for marginalised workforces, work in a sustainable manner and promote eco-friendly activities, and contribute to the local community in other ways too such as donations or aiding local charities and projects. Here are our top tips to get you started.

WORK OUT WHAT YOU’RE ALL ABOUT Social Enterprise UK defines social enterprises as business that: Have a clear social or environmental mission that is set out in its governing documents Are independent and earn more than half of their income through trading (or are working towards this) Are controlled or owned in the interests of their social mission Reinvest or give away at least half their profits or surpluses towards their social purpose Are transparent about how they operate and the impact that they have So, make sure your social mission is clear – you will be asked about it a lot as it’s what defines you. There will be scrutiny if you haven’t got it all figured out yet! Journalists will pick up on any flaw in your activities that don’t match up to your missions and funders will want to know in-depth where their money is going. LET OTHERS HELP YOU If you’ve already begun your social enterprise journey, you’ll know that it takes a lot of time and hard work. Networking

with other social enterprise business owners and let them give you’re their advice, they’re usually brimming with ideas and information as they’ve had to do a lot of research and trial and error processes. MAKE IT OFFICIAL The Government website is very helpful in legalising your business. It states that if you want to set up a business that has social, charitable or community-based objectives, you can set up as a: limited company, a charitable incorporated organisation (CIO), a co-operative, a community interest company (CIC), or a sole trader or business partnership. Find out more at set-up-a-social-enterprise. PROVE YOUR WORTH It may be difficult and time-consuming but measuring the impact your business has on the world is imperative. Measurements can be made via surveys on the improvement of mental health for example, or how many times you’ve been mentioned in the media. The information you can provide will help others see that your social enterprise is working, which will helpfully lead to more investors and more of a following.

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‘WOMEN CAN DO ANYTHING’ open doors and open hearts They say charity begins at home but in this family, it goes global Words by Kerry Smith iblings Kayan (12) and Tiana (9) have so far led a full life encompassing travel, compassion, quality education, and even a spell of acting in the West End. It’s a far cry from their mother’s childhood. Bhumika Parmar led a simple life as a child coming from a working-class background and remembers her own parents’ struggle sometimes working 16hr days seven days a week; her parents priority was their children’s future. But for Kayan and Tiana, however life may present itself to them, Bhumika reminds her son and daughter that they came from humble beginnings. The 44-year-old is the founder of practice BP Legal Solicitors based in Belgrave Gate. Bhumika makes the perfect cover lady

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for the first ever issue of She Inspires having fought to make her mark in the legal sector, having been invited to speak at events such as Curve workshops for women, building a new life from scratch to be able to provide for her family, and supporting women in a very unique way. Bhumika studied hard to earn the life she has today. She said: “My dad always wanted to be a doctor but the irony is he ended up being a doctor’s driver. He tried his best to give us everything he didn’t have, and it led to me and my brother being the first in our family to go to university.” She says it’s because of her humble background and having to prove her worth instead of being ‘handed opportunities on a plate’ that she has been able to be successful. “I worked


extra hard because I was competing against people with A-star educations.” She made opportunities for herself by writing letters to law firms asking for work experience, “in those days it was making teas, but I wasn’t fussed, I told them I’d start from the bottom!” Doors eventually began to open and by the age of 24, she already had a manager position and was even being head hunted by other firms. She had become quite the catch in the legal profession. But, at eight months’ pregnant with her first child, she made the unexpected decision to take voluntary redundancy and went into consulting. It was at the same time as the recession hit in 2008. While other firms were closing, Bhumika decided it was the perfect time to set up BP Legal. By age 30, she was running a small but successful practice and was making connections within her local community – even the local police officers would pop in now and then to say hello. And it was those relationships that took Bhumika from local business owner to local community hero and women’s rights advocate. “One normal working day, a lady came into the office and asked me for help,” Bhumika recalls an incident that took place in the early days of the business. “She said her in-laws wouldn’t let her eat, she didn’t have a bank account, they were waking her up at 3am to wash their cars, hitting her, and locking her in a cupboard.” Whilst at university, Bhumika was heavily involved in helping with women’s and domestic violence charities. She explained: “Whilst I was growing up it was very common for me to see Asian women experience domestic violence and I never understood how they put up with it, so when this lady came to me in the office that day, it was my instinct to help.” Bhumika called the local police who arrested the husband and his family. The lawyer also informed Women’s Aid who assisted the lady with secure housing, and Bhumika even became her divorce lawyer. From building relationships with other local business owners, Bhumika was also able to secure her a job. “She thought she had no way out. She was shivering and malnourished. But now she’s happily married and has a child. Women might think they can’t do this or that but they can. Women can do anything as long as they’re honest and tell their situations. There are so many people out there willing to help.” In 2014, Bhumika assisted with a case in which a woman was terrified of female genital mutilation (FGM) being performed. Not scared to hit back and share her arguments against FGM, the case attracted global attention and Bhumika appeared on ITV News, BBC News, as well as radio stations and newspapers. She has also acted on behalf of a client whose case she won in the Supreme court. The case is now used as a learning resource in law books for schools and universities. Bhumika has gone on to help many other women in difficult situations globally, as well as opening the door for hopeful young solicitors locally. She’s been able to give back

in such a way because of the support of her husband. “I remember him telling me that he saw so much passion in my eyes that it would be selfish of him to ask me to take a step back while he went forward, so he was helping equally with the children and household. I opened my own practice because I wanted to be invested in my children’s wellbeing. I am first and foremost a mum.” Educating her children about the lives of others around the world, she said: “Having visited India and witnessing poverty in some parts I decided we wanted to support an orphanage in India and provide essential items for children. My own kids invest their pocket money and we visit most years.” Bhumika passionately added: “There are a lot of ethnic minority women who think they can’t do things because of families and other obstacles, but you can do whatever you want. You can still be a daughter-in-law, a mum, and a businessperson. I instil this in Kayan and Tiana.”

“Having visited India and witnessing poverty in some parts I decided we wanted to support an orphanage in India and provide essential items for children”

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Why you should consider

OUTSOURCING HR FOR YOUR BUSINESS Running a business is not the easiest of ventures to do, but can be fruitful, especially in the long run. Here’s why small to medium-sized companies should consider hiring outside HR expertise Words by Blessing Taiwo hen you outsource your human resources you are essentially taking on a third party company to deliver all the complex ins and outs of employee contracts, recruitment, and acting as a department that your employees can go to for information and advice.

can outsource. This will allow the company to have more time for other tasks. Reduced cost – when employing an HR advisor this can rack up in costs and be of a high amount, as opposed to hiring specialist companies.


According to SAGE Journals in an article titled ‘Human Resource Outsourcing Success’, one of the areas neglected in HR is the partnership quality. This impacts the service of quality on the success of HR outsourcing. To conclude, the service provider market is increasing and growing very quickly, and HR outsourcing has advanced from being a singular service provider to a multiple service provider. Outsourcing HR is a very great investment in any business allowing flexibility for companies to leave stuff to the experts whilst their focus being on other departments.

Some of the advantages of using an external provider are: Skills and knowledge – hiring an individual from a company that specialises within that specific field will more than ensure that they’ve been trained to a high degree, and will have a great knowledge of the field. As someone in-house may not know something as in-depth in comparison to a specialist. Efficiency – there are many fundamentals that a business has to deal with daily no matter the size, the company can focus on their core business rather than HR, something they

SAVE TIME, SAVE MONEY Reduce office costs and free your time by delegating those time consuming tasks




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WITH INTENTION When you speak with intention and not for attention, your words convey truth and create action! by Ronke Kokoruwe moved to the UK from Nigeria when I was seventeen years old to pursue a law degree. Becoming a lawyer was a childhood dream fulfilled, and for many years, I practised with great enthusiasm, commitment and aptitude. However, after years of juggling my legal practice with growing family commitments, I started to lose the joy in my work and realised that I wanted to seek new and different adventures. I had never considered myself a businesswoman. I envisaged that I would be in my legal career ‘for-ever’. All of a sudden, I started to consider other possibilities and embarked on a journey of discovery. It was during this time that coaching fell into my lap. I have always been passionate about the power of communication and its capacity to open doors. I noticed that there was a gap in the educational system and that very few schools provided opportunities and spaces for young people to speak up, use their voices and receive encouragement and feedback to enhance their verbal self-expression. I approached one school to offer this service and the word organically spread to other schools in the area. That is how iVerbalize was born. Organising speech workshops and festivals for hundreds of children brought immense delight as I saw many take the step from ‘spectator to speaker’ and grow in confidence in their ability to communicate and influence with the power of their words. Very quickly, it became apparent that many women also needed this type of support and encouragement

in their various roles, and my work gradually started to shift into that space. It was challenging to understand the nuances of running a business and the task of creating and building something that I could look back on with satisfaction. Remember, I had never considered myself a businesswoman, and I had to learn to change my mindset from being an employee to becoming an entrepreneur. Letting go of the security of my career, embracing self-motivation and owning and valuing my ideas were some areas I needed to develop very quickly. I am grateful for those who supported my vision despite the uncertainty and for mentors who inspire me to keep going. I have found spaces, both in-person and online, where I can network and connect with like-minded visionaries; people just like me, forging their own paths. The people and groups I have met have made a significant contribution to my continuing development; I have found that there is always somebody willing to offer support and new opportunities. My mission is to train, coach, and mentor women to speak up with greater courage, confidence and clarity, to show up in line with their values and to speak with intention and not for attention. I am excited to see what the future holds as I look ahead with faith, hope and joy. The pandemic has shown me that even in the most challenging situations, there is a way out; it may be unclear, rough and scary, but if we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we will find a way through. She Inspires 11

Making a difference to your business Business consultancy, coaching and training Always remember... ”You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think“ A A Milne The Turnaround CEO is the ideal first step to help you regain control and begin to focus on what you do best, building your business.

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Coping With Covid:

COACHING FOR BUSINESS Are you a woman in the UK running your own business? Feeling that whiplash from last year’s unexpected crash? Words by Gemma Knight ith lockdowns still looming over future plans here, it’s plain to see that 2021 isn’t quite ready to take it down a notch either. But help is there if you look for it. If you’re in need of guidance, a fresh perspective, and a driving source of motivation to keep your business thriving throughout the year, a business coach might be just what you need. Last September, a report by Bupa Global discovered that eight in 10 business leaders were experiencing ‘poor mental health.’ But within this group, is one even more vulnerable to being overlooked, unsupported, and left alone to face the impacts of COVID-19. In 2019, women only made up a third of business leaders in the UK according to Natwest’s ‘Rose Review.’ It didn’t get much easier for them last year either, with most women-run businesses in 2020 having just one employee (UENI, ‘Gender and Small Business’). In contrast, this study found that the majority of businesses owned by men had four or more employees. If we consider these facts all together, it becomes clear that women are at more risk than men of becoming isolated and experiencing dips in their mental health. It’s no surprise that physical health is a concern too. Under the shadow of COVID-19, many have been forced to start working from home, and maintaining an exercise routine while working remotely is no walk in the park. Neither is running a business. Between crafting short and long term plans; sourcing and employing staff; balancing the financial needs of a business and so on, little room is left for you to remain emotionally and physically self-aware. Jill Mead, CEO at TalkOut, cannot stress enough how important this is. She told Forbes: “You are your biggest asset

and if you’re not firing on all cylinders then your business is likely to suffer too.” But how do you keep all those cylinders on full blast? Who do you turn to when you’re struggling with a task? That is where a business coach can step in. A business coach can give you advice and guidance from their own industry-based expertise and knowledge, while offering an outsider’s perspective. It’s easy to become comfy with where you are and what you’re doing to make things work; your coach will challenge you with fresh ideas to help you venture outside your comfort zone and take your business to the next level. Over a course of monthly or weekly meetings, they will nurture your confidence and guide you through the process of clarifying your vision for the future - for you and your business. “You’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish when you have someone who believes in what you’re doing,” says Carrie Smith, founder of The Client Connection, while recalling her own experience for a blog post on Bidsketch. “Hearing a few words of encouragement can really lift your spirits when you’re down.” Having a chat with the coach you’re thinking of hiring first is probably best. If they understand your vision and are passionate about it too, you’ll be able to reap all the benefits of having a coach at your side. Women business leaders may be more isolated and vulnerable to the stress of this period, but with a friendly expert in your corner it is more than possible to align your recovery with that of national services, shops, and competitor businesses. Tackle that tower of paperwork. Dilate your perspective. Recognise your weak points. Nurture your strengths and your confidence. And face those post-COVID hurdles head on.

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5 HELPFUL TIPS FOR STARTUP BUSINESS OWNERS Keeping health-wise is key at the start of your business venture Words by Gemma Knight


tarting up your own business is the beginning of a new chapter in your life – and you’re probably more than ready to start filling the pages. Looking up ways you can fortify yourself against declines in your mental and physical health, however, might not be first on your to-do list. That’s why we’ve crafted a list of five things you can do or avoid to keep mentally and physically healthy as you set off along the entrepreneur’s road:


Don’t sit around for long periods of time. Staying seated may be good for getting that last batch of documents polished, but it’s detrimental to your spine and the muscles in your back. Have little five-minute walks about the house to stretch and alleviate tension in muscles.


Schedule a time to relax. Set a reminder on your device to stop working at a certain time. It’s important to wind down at the end of the day and have some ‘you’ time.


Me nt a n e a

Hypnotherapy “You can’t go back and change the beginning, But you can start where you are and change the ending” 0116 340 0630 Based in Aylestone, Leicester

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Talk to someone. Confiding in someone you feel comfortable around is a tonic for stress overloads. There are also multiple mental health organisations like Let’s TalkWellbeing that offer counselling services.


Keep up an exercise routine. This could be running up the stairs a couple of times a day, a 30 minute run, or a full-on workout. How you exercise depends on you. What matters is that rush of endorphins you get from it, which can greatly relieve stress levels.


Maintain healthy eating. Try to steer clear of instant gratification foods like biscuits and pop drinks. They only make you gain weight and can cause disruptive fluctuations in your energy levels. Make yourself a snack box of healthy foods like fruit, nuts, crackers and chopped-up vegetables to replenish yourself with nutrients and all the boost you need to power through the day.

Creating Lasting Change We understand what it’s like to feel like no matter what you try, something always manages to knock you back down and it feels impossible to get out of that rut. It is NOT impossible! Here at SanaMente, we use a combination of talking therapy and hypnosis to help you find and use your Inner resources to conquer any challenges that come your way in a compassionate and positive state of mind, in Safe, confidential space. Or if like us, you could do with a bit of extra support, have a look at our online gatherings Sanamente Slimmers, Stay Calm with SanaMente and Steps with SanaMente. Let us guide you on your journey to a place of self love, compassion, wisdom and success.

Girls Lead

FUTURE LEADERS LEADING BY EXAMPLE An organisation that aims to help girls and women deviate from the norm and break out of their shell to fend for themselves, is empowering the community By Blessing Taiwo t’s evident from recent past events and movements that women in the working environment have still faced inequality whether in the form of lack of equal pay through to struggling to be taken seriously. When running a business, the gender of an individual can arguably affect circumstances. There’s a number of attributes that go into starting your own business from the legal sides of things to other issues such as obtaining funds. Girls Lead is an organisation that offers services from mentoring, training packages to service development. It tackles issues on inequality and addresses any challenges that may arise. Girls Lead was founded in April 2019 and birthed by Sukhveer Atwall, who emphasises the revolution of young girls and women being entrepreneurs and founders of something that they can call their own, creating a legacy. The company also includes Zaynah Lunat as the head of social media. The company holds events within cities such as Leicester and Birmingham and has also branched out to other cities in the Midlands after receiving great reception. Women in business is a fundament that is becoming more prominent, with many women wanting to take charge and start working for themselves over the past few years. We are in an era where women are becoming the pinnacles of companies. Women are now becoming strong figures in

society, Jane Fraser springs to mind, the first woman appointed boss of a Wall Street bank. Girls Lead offers a number of services tailored to everyone’s path. There is also an arts and craft subscription box, this is an innovative form of service made to help children’s leadership skills between the ages of 8-12 years. You always hear the saying ‘the young generation is tomorrow’s future’ and this box is to help them take the right steps to success, offering learning materials that enhance confidence, inclusive activities for members of the family to also take part in, and a curriculum to nurture young minds.

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WOMEN’S NETWORKING A rundown of networking events for women in Leicester Words by Gemma Knight Networking will always be an invaluable investment of your time when you’re growing your business or trying to sustain a steady stride for your success. Keeping up to date with your industry’s latest trends, forming connections that are mutually beneficial, and making your mark on the market - it’s all fundamental to the success of your business. Here in Leicester we were hit particularly hard by the pandemic. There was a huge rise in the number of people working from home, meaning many of us have been robbed of daily office interaction and those after-work conversations. But this March (and even further along), there will be networking events available to attend virtually or face-to-face in or near to Leicester. There you can meet like-minded businesswomen and grow your network. Here’s a taster of the upcoming opportunities to be found out there.

#YesSheCan Skills Development Day Novotel Leicester, LE1 4JS March 18 9:00am - 17:00pm A four-workshop event led by successful businesswomen, with a strong emphasis on networking. A great opportunity to expand your knowledge on key topics like negotiating, goal setting, and personal branding while forming connections. Find out more at Women that Connect, meeting Ullesthorpe Court Hotel, LE17 5BZ April 14 11:45am - 2:00pm A friendly yet professional networking event that happens monthly. It focuses on building business relationships with both new and existing contacts (there’s also a two-course lunch with drinks!). Find out more at

MIBNetwork, Creating Social Media that Sells + Networking Via Zoom, and at a location in Tunbridge Wells - TBC March 24 7:30am - 10:00pm An event for businesswomen who are also mums. It’s a place to meet and chat - proper, friendly and enjoyable connection. Involves structured activities to facilitate the fun! While the event is due to be held in Tunbridge Wells, it will be joinable on Zoom if the recent lockdown restrictions are still in place. Find out more at EmpowHer, Mixer event May 3 11am This virtual event is a platform designed to encourage connections between like-minded women, cultivating community and networking among entrepreneurs. A free slot can be booked via

There are websites you can sign up on for membership to gain access to digital networking events, like (the British Association of Women Entrepreneurs). Keep an eye out also for any upcoming events hosted by Josiah Hincks Solicitors like the ‘Ladies Network Afternoon Tea’ meet-up.

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BECOMING PRESIDENT The career journey of East Midlands Chamber’s newest President esides having my daughter Amelia, it’s one of my greatest achievements,” Eileen Richards told us after being named the new President of the East Midlands Chamber late last year in 2020. She’s the founder of Leicester’s ER Recruitment, as well as the co-founder of the Chamber’s Enterprising Women network, which will mark its 25th year in 2022. The businesswoman has become regionally known as an advocate of women’s accomplishments. As co-chair of the Enterprising Women’s Awards, she has come to represent female entrepreneurship across the East Midlands, being seen as a role model by many. Upon announcing the winners for the 2020 ceremony, she said the standard of entries was high with a record number of submissions, stating that this is “testament to the real hunger among women in the business community to be recognised for their achievements.” The President of the second largest Chamber of Commerce in the country began her own journey over 30 years ago.

on all areas of your life,” she explained. “My job gave me a separate focus and the drive to achieve some great things.” On her overall success, she said: “I have always been independent and confident at making business decisions. Since the formation of ER, I have been excited to share my journey with others and feel very proud of my achievements.” “I have an incredible, talented team who all share the same values. And at the heart of everything we do, is our customer service, this includes colleagues, clients, candidates, and the business community.” After being virtually inducted as East Midlands Chamber President, in her first speech, she set out three priorities for the year ahead – to encourage inter-membership relations and trading; support the region’s future business leaders, and lobby hard in Government for investment to aid the East Midlands’ post-Covid economic recovery, all while continuing to support women through the Enterprising Women’s network and its awarding ceremony. Enterprising Women Awards 2021 is now open for applications. Submissions can be made at

EILEEN’S STORY Having been in the recruitment industry for 25 years, Eileen set up her own business ER Recruitment at age 43. Now aged 50, Eileen has totted up a ream of triumphs to her name. She went on to become a trustee for the charity Hope Against Cancer, was named Businesswoman of the Year at the Niche Business Awards 2018, and won the Leicester Mercury Business Woman of the Year title in the same year. To top it off, in November of 2018, she was then recognised with an MBE for the Promotion of Female Entrepreneurship meeting Prince Charles upon receiving the title. But it hasn’t been an easy journey. Eileen has achieved despite facing hardship after her life took a devastating turning point when she lost her mum, husband and dad in the space of a few short years. “Losing a loved one does have an impact


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How to promote your

BRAND-NEW BUSINESS An essential guide to print marketing for start-ups arketing is essential for all businesses but even more so for start-ups. Without people being aware of your business, how are they going to invest in your products and services? Here’s an essential guide to marketing your company from printing company Soar Valley Press. Stationery – Corporate letterheads, personalised compliment slips, branded envelopes and presentation folders are perfect for increasing your brands’ visibility. Signage – Displaying a tray sign, projecting sign or acrylic sign, on the front of your building, is a great way to attract attention. Around 76% per cent of consumers said they have chosen to enter a shop they have never previously visited, based purely on its signage (FedEx). Pullup banners – These cost-effective stands are useful for taking to network events as a backdrop for Zoom meetings, for small exhibitions and to have up in your office.

Brochures – Brochures are great for acting as a printed version of your website! They’re perfect for highlighting your key products and services, your vision and mission, and for telling your customers exactly how your business aims to make their life easier. Flyers and leaflets – If you’re on a tight budget, flyers and leaflets are a cost-effective form of marketing. They’re ideal for advertising key product offerings or showcasing fundamental information about your brand such as opening times, contact information, and prices. Branded workwear – Corporate branded workwear can employees appear professional and show care about your image and how you are seen by others. Vehicle graphics – Your vehicle is a moving billboard for your company. Personalising your vehicle fleet is a great way to get your brand noticed when you and your team are out and about.


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HELPING YOU PROMOTE YOUR NEW BUSINESS There is lots to think about when starting your new business. At Soar Valley Press we can help you with everything design and print related: • • • •

Creating your brand Business cards and letterheads Leaflets and flyers Brochures

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Packaging and labels Signage and banners Workwear Branded merchandise

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Contact NATASHA today 0116 478 0867 | Visit 18 She Inspires

THE DRIPPING TAP When this successful businesswoman realised the metaphorical bathtub was full to the brim, she realised it was time to fix the dripping tap and change her life Words by Kerry Smith he work that I thought was my lifeline was actually drowning me,” Amanda Daly told me, who is now a happier version of herself and founder of The Turnaround CEO (TTCEO). “I was so unhappy with how I was as a mum, I didn’t have many friends, and weekends were just trying to catch up with housework.” Referring to the dripping tap, Amanda says many people aren’t aware of what is happening in their life and relationships, that things happen so steadily they don’t see the damage until one day they realise the bathtub is full. This was Amanda’s realisation whilst working as managing director of a telecoms company. She says if you are a giving person, you can be open to abuse and being taken for granted and you can be blind to a lot of things around you. The impact only comes when it hits you hard and you break. She recalls her biggest regret: “My mum was the main mum of my children. It’s something I’m not proud of. I was never able to make school plays or afterschool activities. But my children are exceptionally balanced and they understand the ethics behind work.” Being married to the director of the telecommunications company also took its toll which ended in divorce. Amanda often felt as though she had 24 mortgages sitting on top of her, feeling the pressure of being responsible for her telecoms team members’ livelihoods. “I allowed the business to take over. I was a robot. I’d completely lost Amanda. I got involved in so many areas of the business and sometimes, the

more you do, the more you have to do. You can fall into a trap of becoming the oracle, which is of course a leader’s job but you also have to help employees stand on their own two feet so the business doesn’t solely rely on the leader.” Working in a male-dominated industry also had its difficulties, “Telecoms must have been one of the most sexist industries. As a woman you were massively outnumbered. When I started 25 years ago you had to work hard to make people aware that you understood what you were talking about.” The Leicester-born communications expert ran TTCEO for three years alongside her MD role before choosing to run the coaching and consulting business full time. Now in its fifth year, TTCEO helps busy business owners who feel trapped to see a different way of working. Helping them to fly, grow and develop, and input new processes, she also rolls her sleeves up and gets stuck in with the owners. The difficult paths Amanda found herself on ultimately led to a happier, more balanced life running TTCEO. “If anything comes from this article, I’d want it to be to help women take that leap of faith! There’s so much that holds us back but a lot of it is unreality and noise in our own heads. Often the things that scare us are the things we should be doing. “I was drowning before. Choosing to run TTCEO full time was the best decision I ever made. I want women to remember that the bad times can help you grow.” Find more inspirational messages from Amanda at

She Inspires 19

Jenny Cross:

NOT GIVING UP From voluntary liquidation to losing loved ones, Kerry Smith talks to Cross Productions CEO Jenny Cross about losing it all and starting over t six months’ pregnant, Jenny Cross quit her telesales job at a privately owned newspaper company for the good of her mental health and her moral code. Now the CEO of successful marketing company Cross Productions, she looked back on the experience: “It was a hostile environment and the manager was intimidating. Back then I was so shy and quiet that I would never have dared confront her. The only way to get back at her was to sell more than her so I got my head down and made it happen.” Six months later, Jenny was promoted to sales manager and again within a year to sales director at the age of 19. “I was earning really good money, had a BMW three series, and was living the life while all my mates were skint at uni,” she told us. But the dark side of her seemingly flourishing career was festering away at her. “It was a known culture that the company avoided promoting women and that being pregnant was frowned upon.”

20 She Inspires

Jenny says she knew that being pregnant would cause trouble for her within the male-owned company and it eventually took one fateful incident for her to finally leave. Not willing to name the company, she explained the final straw that led to her leaving the environment she found to be negative: “One of my team had sold an advert to a B and B owner but head office had taken the money three times, I asked them to refund her to which I received a call from my boss telling me it’s not my job to tell them what to do and that I had to sell more advert space to the B and B owner, but three adverts weren’t worth it for her. I went home thinking I can’t do this anymore and the following Monday I quit.” Without maternity pay or another job to go to, Jenny’s first child was born a month early due to stress, and four months later, she decided to set up her own company hiring an accountant and a designer and selling advertising space in her own magazine called Insight. Pregnant with her second child a year later, Jenny had just two days off before returning

to work, “I needed to manage the team because there was no one else to lead it, and I didn’t have a clue how to train someone to be a manager.” Things were ticking by until the birth of her third child was shortly followed by the death of her grandma. “It knocked me for six and my head wasn’t in the game. I took my eye off the ball, so had my accountant, and I wasn’t checking the figures properly until HMRC turned up at the office because we hadn’t paid our VAT bill.” The event forced Insight magazine, which had been running for five years, to go into voluntary liquidation as well as having to call the police after some rather unofficial ‘bailiffs’ on her doorstep. Jenny had to sell her home to pay off her debts and distribute the final ever Insight magazine for their existing advertising clients. With the help of her friend Leanne Latham and sister Sally Smith, Jenny set out to build up a new company called Cross Productions with its own B2B publication Niche Magazine. Starting from scratch, she would often breakdown in tears through the tough early days of her business whilst raising three young children. After moving the business from home into offices in Oadby, which the now 14-strong team still resides today, Jenny became friends with Leicester business women Leanne Bonner-Cooke MBE, Eileen Richards MBE, and Glynis Wright MBE. She said: “I was in awe of these business people and there was me with a handful of GCSEs, a failed business, and a marriage on the rocks at this point.” Networking was successful but another devastating blow came when her mother died. Determined to keep the business going and be there for her team, she was convinced by a friend to take the Post Graduate Certificate in Professional Coaching at Leicester Castle Business School. “I’ve never been so scared in my life. Doing a degree when you’ve not even done A-Levels was so hard. I remember having to go home and Google what the Harvard Referencing System was because I didn’t want to ask and look stupid. “But it was the best thing I ever did. It’s impacted the whole company. We now have a development and coaching culture with strong department leaders so we’re able to run as a profitable commercial entity.” The Cross and Niche teams have gone on to win numerous accolades and awards and runs events such as Inspirational Women in Business networking and Niche Business Awards. She says the success of the business, which turns eight in April, is all down to the work of her team and some hypnotherapy sessions with SanaMente owner Linda Neville for confidence as well as repeating positive affirmations five times a day. Visit to find out more about Jenny.

“I was in awe of these business people and there was me with a handful of GCSEs, a failed business, and a marriage on the rocks”

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GRANTS AND FUNDING Funding options available for businesses, social enterprises, and charitable organisations If you’re a woman with her own business and looking to grow or you have a dream of starting a new venture, the Leicester and Leicestershire Growth Hub is a great place to go for advice and support. All services are at no cost to you (because they are fully funded) and their team of business advisers offer impartial, practical advice and guidance on every aspect of business including trading after Brexit, recovery after the pandemic and lots more. As well as advice, they can put you in touch with experts in certain aspects of business and people with experience in your business sector. The team works in partnership to achieve your business goals. In terms of funding, there is a wide range – too many to include here – and often new funding is announced to address key issues as they arise (such as the support during COVID). Here’s a list of some of the funding available to you and, if you would like to apply, they can guide you through the process.

LOCAL FUNDING SUPPORT FOR BUSINESS Charity for an interest-free loan up to £10,000 to start your business in Leicester and Leicestershire. Perhaps you’re a creative person ready to take the next step into selling your crafts or arts professionally. You’ll need a website and digital marketing as well as all kinds of other support. For this age bracket, there are also interest-free loans up to £20,000 from the Sir Thomas White Loan Charity to help start your business. NBV Grants for New Business are available from £1,000-£2,500 to cover 25% of your costs, so your minimum project spend would need to be £4000 to qualify.

Community Harmony Awards provides grants of £500. Finally, if you are a not-for-profit community organisation delivering in the St Matthew’s area, St Matthew’s Big Local offers grants up to £1,000 and Growth Hub can help you with applications to all these organisations.

NATIONAL SUPPORT FOR START-UPS Start-Up Loans is a government-backed loans programme lending between £500 and £25,000 over a period of one to five years. The loans are charged at 6% interest with no set-up or early repayment fees and this includes 12 months of free mentoring.

AND RECOVERING BUSINESSES The recent Budget introduced Restart Grants which will give shop owners £6,000 if they were forced to close during the pandemic. Hospitality and leisure venues could get up to £18,000. Businesses of any size can apply to the Recovery Loan Scheme for a loan or overdraft between £25,000 and £10m until the end of 2021. Asset and invoice finance between £1,000 and £10m will also be available and all of these have a Government guarantee of 80%. If you have an SME that trades only with the EU, and you’re still working out the new processes, apply to the Brexit Support Fund for a grant of up to £2,000 to pay for practical support such as training and professional advice to ensure you can continue trading effectively.

FOR SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY PURPOSES Big Issue Invest provides loans from £20,000 to £3m for social enterprises and charities trading for two or more years.

GET IN TOUCH FOR SOCIAL AND COMMUNITY PURPOSES If you’re running an organisation in the East Midlands with social and community aims and you’ve been refused funding from elsewhere, Key Fund offers grants, loans and equity from £5,000 to £300,000. As you’d expect, there is a Coronavirus Support Fund which gives up to £5,000 to charity and community organisations supporting local people who are struggling as a result of the pandemic. Your project would need to be delivered by the end of August 2021. Charities and social enterprises can also apply to the Making Local Life Better Fund for grants between £500 and £3,000 to support one-off specific projects or for core operating costs. If your focus is on improving interfaith or multicultural relationships, the Richard Bonney

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Find out more about these schemes and how to apply by speaking to our friendly team at the Growth Hub. Call 0116 366 8487, email or visit For other local community and social enterprise grants and funding visit

The Advantages of

FINANCIAL FORECASTING AND BOOKKEEPING Taking the time to bookkeep and build your own financial forecast is the path to peace of mind when running a business. Here’s why Words by Gemma Knight inancial forecasting is invaluable to businesses, especially smaller to medium-sized ones going through important growth stages. It’s the key to getting things done and taking back control, instead of you being controlled by your business’s teething problems or any difficulties caused by unforeseen circumstances. Estimating future incomes and expenses, predicting outcomes, seeing the bigger picture - this is what a financial forecast offers. And if you do it well, the forecast can span a year. Financial forecasts transport business leaders and their businesses from the misty vales of uncertainty where they ‘have some idea of what it’s looking like,’ to a much clearer vantagepoint, replacing the dubious guesses with concrete numbers and figures. A crucial part to creating a financial forecast is bookkeeping. Keeping track of every financial transaction made by or for your business, and maintaining these records daily.

Bookkeeping allows you to see detail upon detail, equipping you with an in-depth panorama of where your business stands. Armed with such a detailed forecast of your business’s finances, you can face your weak-points by tackling questions you wouldn’t otherwise think to solve, set yourself new, more relevant goals, and make wiser decisions. What’s worth investing in; where you should focus your time; deciding on budgets; whether you should hire more staff or not. Bookkeeping is manageable even if you’re a beginner, but time is of the essence in a business. And, sadly, bookkeeping likes to eat up that time. But there are services you can hire from companies so that your business’s financial doings are kept note of. Meanwhile, you can continue running the other (more exciting!) aspects of your business, having a clearer view of what might lie ahead and that much-needed peace of mind.

Stay on top of your finances With Winfields Bookkeeping, Payroll & Accountancy Services Expert, friendly advice & support for businesses of all sizes in and around Leicester, Leicestershire.

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To make a change, we must have the right mindset. Here’s a list of inspirational quotes about social enterprise, initiative, and impact to motivate you every day Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ Martin Luther King

If you aren’t building a social enterprise, I don’t know what your business model will be in 5 years Angela Ahrendts

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision Dalai Lama

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Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love Mother Teresa

Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Michelle Obama

26/11/2020 12:30

Being a mum, a housewife,


A personal travel consultant on mum guilt and challenging cultural stigma Words by Kerry Smith hen Poonam Doshi became a mum, she chose her children over her career. Her life goals changed when she started a family. Meanwhile, her husband was busy running his own catering company working long, unsociable hours. Poonam describes their relationship: “He brought in the money and I ran the house while being there for the children. This is how we supported each other. We had very different roles so understanding the challenges each other faced was difficult. “When the husband works away no one questions it, but when the wife has to work, she still has to sort everything for the family and there’s mum guilt that comes with that. There’s still a stigma that women should be at the forefront of the family, especially in some Asian families. If my husband was doing housework everyone thought he was amazing but took it for granted to see me doing it.” Poonam’s dad died when she was aged just 10 and saw her mum give up their business for a nine to five job earning less. Seeing the choice her mum made for her, Poonam said: “Now owning my own businesses, I understand that doing something I love makes me a better wife and mum, so celebrating awareness days like International Women’s Day is important. We should empower girls and boys to show them they can do anything and that even though women may have extra struggles with juggling so much responsibility, it shouldn’t stop us from achieving our goals.” Since Poonam began her own Not Just Travel business in July 2019 helping busy professionals plan that all-important time out, the pair have come to understand one another better,

especially once the pandemic hit. Poonam found she was working more hours while her husband, having a business in the hospitality sector, was at home more. Poonam says the older generation is getting used to their way of life and that the next generation will be better for it. She explained: “When my children were going to be at school full time I decided I didn’t want to be at home every day. I felt like I was only a mum and a housewife and needed something for myself. I want my son and daughter to see that while their mum is helping with their homework, she’s also able to run a business.” Nowadays, Poonam shares the housework equally with her husband while also living out her passion of organising holidays for those who don’t have time to research all the elements that make a great break such as attraction tickets, hotel reviews, travel insurance with Covid cover, and more. Last year was challenging when many holidays were cancelled but she’s found lots of people have rebooked for this year and enjoys being able to make memories for others. She cares about her clients and meeting their needs such as the right flight times through to tours tailored to each personality, and being on hand during their holiday if the need arises like for her customers who were stuck in Lanzarote during the sandstorms. She said: “Travel is like coffee. People pay extra for a Starbucks when they can make it themselves at home. People have personal trainers and financial advisors – we like to leave things to the experts. And it’s no different to having a personal travel consultant.” You can get to know Poonam before booking your trip on 07973 114 031, or email She Inspires 25

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Articles inside

Poonam Doshi of Not Just Travel tells her Story

pages 25-28

The advantages of financial forecasting and bookkeeping

page 23

Inspirational quotes

page 24

Amanda Daly of The Turnaround CEO tells her story

page 19

Grants and Funding for start-ups

page 22

Jenny Cross of Cross Productions tells her story

pages 20-21

How To Promote Your Brand-New Business

page 18

Eileen Richards Of Er Recruitment Tells Her Story

page 17

Coping With Covid: Coaching for Business

page 13

Girls Lead: Future leaders leading by example

page 15

Bhumika Parmar of BP Legal Solicitors tells her story

pages 8-9

How to set up a Social Enterprise

page 7

Ronke Kokoruwi of iverbalise tells her story

pages 11-12

International Womens Day

page 6

Introducing She Inspires

page 5

Women’s Networking

page 16
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