All Shapes and Sizes

Social enterprise, CICs, companies limited by guarantee, limited by shares, cooperatives, sole traders ….

Like women, businesses and enterprises come in all shapes and sizes. If you want to hear all about different business options and ideas, this event is for you.

The Women Mean Business, All Shapes And Sizes event is on Wednesday 18th September at the stunning Adams Building, New College Nottingham, The Lace Market, NG1 1NG

Join us at 6pm for refreshments and networking, followed by an evening of inspirational speakers, stimulating discussion and great company.

Booking is not required but for more information, contact Bright Ideas Nottingham on 0115 837 9474 or email

Women Mean Business is funded by One Nottingham and this event is sponsored by New College Nottingham.

Women Mean Business has been brought to you by Bright Ideas Nottingham, mon0lisa productions, the WEA East Midlands and 97. 5 kemet fm

Please note, there will be photography and filming at this event.


See below for the live blog from this event:


We’re here live The Adams Building for… All Shapes and Sizes!!

We’re just networking and enjoying some drinks and delicious canapés.



Our very own Carole Powell (Women Mean Business Events Team) is now giving us an introduction. She’s telling us…. and introducing us to the rest of the Events Team.


6:38 Pm

Carole hands us over to Audra Wynter, our Chairwoman for the evening!

Audra is talking about sharing- tonight is all about sharing business tips, ideas, business options and business models.



Next up we’re hearing from Rose Thompson, Director of BME Cancer Communities (

Rose tells us how BME Cancer Communities helps those from Black, Minority or ethnic communities who have experiences of cancer.

Rose shows us a picture of herself, her mother and her twin sister. Sadly Rose’s mother and sister both died from cancer.

Rose studied in Radiology. As she was approaching the end of her training, she found out that her mum had breast cancer. This sad news resulted in her failing an exam…but she passed the second time round.

Rose got a job in Westminster hospital in London but returned to Nottingham after getting married.

She then lost her twin sister to cancer.

Rose then had child.

She got a job for Cancerbackup but then left in 2007 to join Cancer Equality.

She then became a sole trader (consultant) in 2008.

Rose saw that all the BME cancer awareness events took place in London, so in 2010 she set up BME Cancer Communities in Nottingham.

Rose gave BME communities a voice. She worked with the Chinese community, as well as other ethnic minority groups.

Rose recommends setting up a good base of contacts in business.

Rose tells us about Friends and Bredrins, a group for those who identify with black men’s cancer experience. She hopes to set up a women’s group soon.

Rose talks about “true partnership working”. In business, it can be good to work together with other similar businesses. But there needs to be equality. All partners should be equal. This goes for you too! Value yourself. Don’t work with those who don’t treat you as an equal. You may feel bad for turning down work, but better opportunities always come along.

BMECC has a big network of supporters! It’s important to get your business known and build up support…

In February 2013, BME Cancer Communities wrote a report on Prostate Cancer and this report was launched in the House of Commons!!

Rose has a vision for BME Cancer communities and what it can become… she says that it’s not there yet but it’s important to hold onto your dreams and not let anyone take them away from you.

Rose leaves us with a wish for us all to be successful. Thanks Rose!



Audra asks us to think about Rose’s words. Lisa Robinson makes a point- don’t under price yourself. Big organisations try to cut the prices of smaller businesses. Don’t let them! Value yourself and put a price on your services that they are really worth. Rose also points out that we need to remember to put our logo and brand on everything. Don’t let others take credit for your hard work! Audra adds that everything has a value which must be carefully thought about.

Carole asks- If you get knocked back, how do you keep motivating yourself forward?

Rose says- You have to see the vision and be passionate about it and not let that go!

Rose doesn’t like the paperwork side of things or finances, so she has an accountant. Rose says that it’s important to get others to help and support you. You can’t do everything yourself! Rose also says that these people may start out as volunteers, but it’s important to value them and to share your income with them when funding does come in. She reminds us to use professional help when we need to.

Now to hear from Tamara Joseph. Tamara makes printed garments for men and women.

Tamara comes from a creative family and was inspired by her gran and her mother, who were both pattern cutters. Her uncle taught her how to draw. By age 7 she was already drafting patterns.

She used her mother’s sheets to make clothing! Her friends loved them. She was selling hareem trousers to her friends at school at age 13.

At 14 she worked in a boutique in Bristol. She took on other jobs to earn money to buy fabric.

Tamara did not enjoy school but she took a course in pattern cutting and then was given the opportunity to do a diploma in fashion.

Tamara felt that she already had all the skills, but the course taught her more.

Tamara moved to Leeds and then went to Leeds University to study a degree in fashion and marketing.

Tamara’s lecturer told her she should be a teacher of fashion but Tamara didn’t take the opportunity.

She worked as a waitress, a chef and a cleaner at TGI Fridays to earn money but as a result she got lots of important skills such as people skills, money handling etc. She moved up the ranks, but she really wanted to go back to fashion.

The job centre had a course on teaching, which she did. She was then given an opportunity to teach and she took it. From there she also took a photography course. She ended up teaching at the university.

She became a student again to study a Masters. She did a student entrepreneur scheme and received a mentor and the support she needed, as well as the belief in herself. When someone believed in her, she believed in herself.

Tamara believes that if you ask for something, you’ll receive it. Tamara heard someone needing a pattern for a prom dress and offered to make it for them. She charged them £70- but the dress was worth £400. She gave them the first price that came into her head. She advises people to stop and think before setting a price.

From there Tamara did London fashion week and it was a big success! She entered the competition and though she didn’t win, a judge invited her to stay in Maryland USA as they were so impressed with her designs.

Tamara approached a principal at the school where she taught. She asked him if he would pay for her to make a collection and fly to America. She thought the answer would be no, but it was yes and it just goes to show that you should always ask!!

Tamara  then worked with Simply B to try to get her designs out.

It went quiet for a year but then she started to get emails.

Tamara makes garments to order. She can adapt to any size. She also creates her own fabrics. Each of her designs is unique. Tamara wants people to feel confident in their clothing and know they will stand out and be unique.

Tamara went back to London fashion week and won independent designer of the year. Well done Tamara! Since this, people are contacting her and asking her to take part in their events rather than the other way round with her having to ask them.

Tamara says that we need to believe in ourselves and make our own unique niche known. We shouldn’t worry that there won’t be a market for it as we are all unique.

Tamara has just come back from New York fashion week.

Tamara says “Don’t put your dream off for tomorrow. Do it today!!”

Thanks Tamara. Some truly inspirational words.



Now it’s time for a Q & A session in which the women here today will have the chance to ask questions to Rose and Tamara.

Tamara tells us that there are often people who can help you out when you’re starting off. A lady told her about how to do her own tax.

Audra tells us that trading is important when you’re starting off. If someone can give you something, what can you give them in return? But you need to be clear about what they can offer you and what you can offer them.

Rose says that she had no idea about finances when starting out. Also, working in health is not the same as selling a product. Rose says that there are different business models you can set up, for example setting up a CIS. It’s important to research different business models / types before starting out to ensure you are best off financially.

Tamara says that she is often bombarded with orders, so she takes on interns, who work for free to learn skills in a practical environment.

Audra says, “Your connections of today may be your business partners of tomorrow.”

An audience member talks about how it’s important not to give up. When she started her business, lots of doors seems to close on her, but now her business is a big success!

“If you really love what you’re doing and are passionate about it, just go for it!”

“You just have to put in to get out.”

Audra says to start off with a small goal and then build up to bigger goals step by step.

“If you believe it, you’ll achieve it.”

Q- Have you ever had any moments of doubt, where something has stopped you in your tracks. How do you carry on?

Audra says that you have to keep believing that you have more to offer and that you can do it.

Rose says that she was set back by family health problems, but she feels that family will always be her priority. She suggests finding support and finding others who are suitable work partners.

Ros Horsley, who we’ll be hearing from soon, tells us about how she was made redundant and took it personally, but then she managed to turn things around with the help of supportive others. She reminds us that if we look back we can see how far we’ve come.

Tamara recommends a book called ‘The Secret’, which says that you get back what you put out.



Time for more speakers! What a jam-packed evening!

Next up is… Ros Horsley from ‘Winning Ways’, an image consultancy business.

Ros starts with a quote from her business about the importance of first appearances.

Ros started out as a ‘trolly-dolly’ on aeroplanes, but she worked her way up.

She then went on maternity leave and had a child.

Ros cared about her image and wanted to lose weight after having her child.

She went on an ‘exercise to music’ course.

She was then invited to a ‘colour and style’ event.

She then started her own business. Luckily someone offered to help her with paperwork!

Ros went on a lot of training courses, building up her portfolio.

She had the privilege of working in Barain, where her husband went to work, but then she returned to Nottingham with her children.

Ros then started teaching. One woman approached her after the course and said that if she hadn’t been on the course, she would have committed suicide. This really made Ros take herself seriously.

Ros got a job in travel and tourism but was then made redundant, which really came as a shock to her.

Ros then went back to ‘Colour me Beautiful’, which was a franchise, which can be a good business model.

Ros recommends building up your business by word of mouth- but it’s important not to promise anything you can’t deliver.

Referring others who have helped you is great. Recommendations can be very useful in business. If you recommend them, they may, in turn, recommend you.

Ros really stresses the importance of networking. Connections and who you know can really help your business to take off.

Ros recommends a book called ‘The E-Myth Mastery’.

Ros has to do a lot of her own business roles- though she does have an accountant.

She asks herself every day “Is this activity working on my business or not?” It’s important to stay focused.

Ros says that it’s very rewarding when you see satisfied clients.

She realises that her redundancy did her a favour, as it’s taken her down a new direction, which has made her happier.

That was great. Thank you Ros J

Audra asks Ros about the franchise model- Ros explains that with a franchise model, the organisation do a lot of the advertising and promotional work for you.

Audra talks about ‘wearing different heads’. One day you’re the director, then you’re the accountant. She recommends taking time out to reflect and check that your business is going in the direction you want it to, rather than getting too caught up in the paperwork. An important question, is your business making a profit?

Rose asks Ros about ‘Colour Me Beautiful’.

Ros- “It’s the prism of your personal colour palette.” Each person is unique and looks good in different colours. Ros puts colours together to suit each person’s unique colouring / style.

They also help businesses to choose colours for their company uniforms which represent their unique business.


Now for our fifth and final speaker of the evening, Audra Wynter.

Audra asks us- Who here grew up in Nottingham? Many people are raising their hands.

Audra grew up in Forest Fields. She remembers seeing other children with things at school and asking her parents if she could have those things and being told ‘No’. Audra remembers getting a Chemistry Set for Christmas. She used it for a bit but then decided she didn’t want it. She was about 8 / 9 years old. She then had the idea to sell her unwanted toys and she sold them from a table outside the house when her mother wasn’t in. Her friends always asked her where she’d got all her money from!

Audra questions whether business skills are something you’re born with. She feels that the skills can be there but they need to be developed.

Audra spent a long time doing other people’s accounts and taxes for them, but then realised that she should be running her own business!

She set up a travel agency because she was passionate about it. However, she points out that it’s important to know where to draw the line if something isn’t working.

Audra saw that the government wanted advisers for social enterprises. Social enterprises are not profit driven, but they have to sustain themselves, for example Rose’s BME Cancer Communities.

She took a course, but then the government withdrew the funding. However, she still uses the skills she learnt.

People come in off the street and she advises them through a consultation. She sets people on the right track from the moment they leave her door.

She advises people to seek advice, to find people who know what they’re talking about.

Audra says that family support / pride can be very touching.

Audra believes that women can be more successful than men at business! She says that if the support that is around today for women setting up businesses was around when she was younger, she’d be a multi-millionaire!!

Audra suggests looking at other businesses and learning from them. What impression do they give? Would you want to work with a business like them?

Audra says that she is humbled to be here today, but we have loved hearing from her!! Thanks Audra!

Well that concludes our speakers for the evening.

20:14 Pm

Time for more Q&A.

Tamara is talking about using social networking. It can be time consuming but it does help and it’s world-wide.

Twitter is a good one and Rose recommends Linked In.

There is a course coming up at Nottingham Women’s Centre to introduce women to social media and how to use it. By the end of the course you will have set up your own WordPress blog (interactive website). The course starts next Friday 27th and runs from 1-3pm for 10 weeks.

Lisa is talking about Women Leading For a Change, a course that ran last year. To find out more, visit

From this, Lisa tried to get funding for the Women Mean Business course but was unsuccessful, but this didn’t put Lisa off and she built up the programme from smaller funding and we’ve now been able to get some really great venues, such as The Adams Building today. Since then, people have asked for Women Mean Business events in their community and we hope that this project can grow from here.

Women can share their ideas on this blog!

Lisa suggests a WMB bartering event.

Tamara is offering 10% off on her dressmaking for women who quote ‘Women For Business’.

Tamara is now talking about how people often work for free to help each other out, for example photographers taking free photos in return for exposure / promotion.

It’s important to protect your business name / products. You need to trademark or copyright everything.

Rose talks about an experience of someone copying and pasting information from her website onto their own.

She also talks about her decision not to be a charity but to raise funds in other ways. She has a fundraising event coming up at the Albert Hall on October 26th.  It’s important to think about where money will come from.


Now Rashmi is closing the evening. A big round of applause for our speakers.

Rashmi was very inspired by this evening. It has made her feel as though her business idea can be a success.

She tells us about the events still to come on the Women Mean Business programme… find out all about the upcoming events and activities on this blog-

PLEASE NOTE: All WMB events from now on are BOOKING ONLY. To book your place at any of the upcoming events, please email


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