07 Mar Celebrating International Women’s Day 2021
Over 20 years ago, our founder Kate Hardcastle was mentored by Dame Anita Roddick, who demonstrated to her the importance of social responsibility, alongside business success.
This was, according to Kate, ‘life and career affirming’ and cemented in her the will to give back through her business in a way which, ‘went beyond donating cash’. It paved the way for the creation of our Access for All programme, which was founded in 2009 and sees Kate and our team give back 20% of agency time and expertise to small businesses and start-ups, free of charge.
Through the programme, we’ve supported over 2,500 small businesses and hundreds of female entrepreneurs. Work has included the founding of initiatives such as Women in Sport North and Indie Business Live, with celebrities such as Mel C lending support to further the causes.
With more small businesses than ever suffering from the effects of the ongoing pandemic, Kate calls for greater collaboration and highlights the importance of mentoring, showcasing the successful women we’ve worked with through the giveback scheme.
Kate says, “In having time with someone as powerful and passionate as Dame Anita Roddick, I was given a different level of understanding about business and life. I’ve always tried to pay it forward and through supporting other women in business, I’ve learnt so much and met some incredible people. This International Women’s Day, it’s time to celebrate these brilliant women – they include the founders of a female plumbing network, the next generation of female foodie entrepreneurs and TV host and author Amanda Byram who has dedicated so much of her time, for free, to helping women improve their self-esteem.”
Our list of wonderful women includes:
- Sisters Jenny & Oonagh Simms – founders and directors of The Marshmallowist
“As women running a small business, both of us think it’s really important that today is about deeds over words. So, if you want more women running businesses – buy from them.”
- Jade Sammour – founder of jewellery brand Dainty London
“Women supporting women is the best. Having been mentored by female mentors who understand my business and the complexities of being a mother, running a business and juggling it all has been wonderful.”
- Rupal Patel – founder of Entreprenora training and coaching
“We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so we need to be careful with our five, and uplevel the influences we let in; when we do that, we uplevel who we are and where we are going, too.”
- Emma McClelland – founder of disability-conscious fashion brand Kintsugi Clothing
“For me, the two mentors I’ve had have been that voice that says, ‘yes, you can’.”
- Natalie Graham -Record Label Owner, Music Manager, Executive Producer and BBC Radio Presenter.
“You never know what little girl or young lady you unknowingly go on to inspire to be a pioneer who will herself, one day, help to shape the future.”
- Amanda Byram– tv host and author of self-help book The Switch, which aims to help people boost their mental and physical wellbeing, with a focus on positive body image and self-esteem.
- Hannah Cockroft MBE– world champion wheelchair racer & accessibility activist is a keen supportor of female led businesses, especially those supporting accessibility and diversity.
- Hattie Hasan & Mica May – founders and directors of Stopcocks Female Plumbers
- Anthea Orchard – founder of party and event dressing business Cardelium
- Savannah Roqaa – founder of The Savvy Baker