I'm known for being a massive Radio 4 fan and I can't resist letting you all know about a new series starting on Radio 4's mid-morning show, Woman's Hour. They have taken three female entrepreneurs and have assigned them mentors to see how they progress throughout the year and what happens to them and their businesses.
The three women are Tanya Ewing, Jo Pateman and Daniella Genas.
Tanya Ewing invented an energy-monitoring device to help families work out how much energy they are using in a simple way. Her device first rolled off the production lines in 2008 but this year she's going for growth. She is being mentored by Nora Senior, executive Chair for the UK Regions and Ireland of the global PR firm Weber Shandwick.
Jo Pateman started out running a garden centre but struggled through the winter seasons. Diversifying into pond maintenance she started 'Women with Waders' with a friend, which eventually became big enough fro her to let go of the garden centre and employ more people. She hopes to recruit two more employees this year, send a third team out on the road and add some bigger clients to her portfolio. Mentoring her through this is Nikki King, Isuzu Truck (UK) Limited, who literally steered her way through sexism to success in Japan and the UK.
Daniella Genas runs social enterprise Aspire4u, an event management company which invests any profits into training programmes for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. It also showcases dance talent from Birmingham through their events. Her aim for 2011 is to keep the funding and ticket sales coming in despite forecasts for a very tough year. Daniella is being mentored by former Natwest goddess turned Business Angel, Gita Patel. She specialises in supporting and funding female-focused enterprises.