Festival of Female Entrepreneurs 2019
Back for its eighth year, this event is a must in your entrepreneurial calendar. Hosted at the newly refurbished Mercure Grand hotel in Bristol for the second time, it brings together some of the UK’s most influential female entrepreneurs, business leaders and brightest start-ups to provide you with detailed and practical insight to grow your business!

Your event agenda

  • 10.00am: Welcome from Emma Jones MBE, founder, Enterprise Nation
  • 10.10am: From barrister to restauranteur: The story of Mowgli Street Foods – Nisha Katona MBE, founder, Mowgli Street Foods

After leaving a flourishing career as a barrister to spread the word about Bengali cuisine, Nisha Katona has defied the naysayers by opening seven Mowgli sites, with plans for more in the pipeline.

  • 10.40am: Raise money, increase confidence and take risks

For every £1 of money venture capitalists invest in start-ups, only £0.10p goes to female founders. This panel will discuss how female founders can explore the best finance options, build their confidence and take the leap into the next phase of their business.

  • Jenny Tooth OBE, CEO, UK Angels Business Association
  • Della Hudson, accountant and business coach, Hudson Business Advice
  • 11.10am: Coffee break

Visit the exhibition, adviser zone and pop-up market

  • 11:30am: Women in digital

Panel discussing trends and opportunities for women working in digital business in 2019 and beyond

  • Ruby Lee, founder of design studio: Studio 77
  • Emma Alexander, founder of photography production and art buying service: Mother bran
  • Martina McDonnell, marketing director, Small Business Group EMEA at Facebook
  • Rachel Wilkins, UK marketing director, Dell
  • 12:00pm: One of your five a day: Emma Jones interviews Nimisha Raja, founder, Nim’s fruit snacks

In 2012 Nimisha Raja pioneered the concept of air-dried fruit crisps. A brand born out of her frustration with the lack of healthy snacks, combined with hard work in the shed of her back garden. Nimisha will tell the story of how she developed one of the leading healthy snack brands in the U.K which now operates out of a factory in Kent, England.

  • 12:30pm: Square presents: Female entrepreneurs on starting, running and growing a retail business
  • 1.00pm: Lunch

It’s a tasty hot networking lunch for everyone this year that’s perfect for autumn as you chat with fellow guests.

  • 2.00pm: From refugee to entrepreneur to philanthropist: Emma Jones interviews Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley CH

Dame Stephanie (Steve) Shirley CH, age 85, is a workplace revolutionary and successful IT entrepreneur turned ardent philanthropist.

Her life story begins with her 1939 arrival in Britain as an unaccompanied Kindertransport refugee. In 1962, she started a software house, Freelance Programmers, that pioneered new work practices and changed the position of professional women, especially in hi-tech. She went on to create a global business and a personal fortune shared with her colleagues; she made 70 of her staff millionaires at no cost to anyone, but herself.

Since retiring in 1993, her focus has been increasingly on philanthropy based on her strong belief in giving back to society.

  • 2.45pm: Mobile, visual, personal: Future proofing your business: a panel of entrepreneurs share their experience of growing a brand on social media

Kate McDonald, SMB Marketing Partnerships & Programmes Manager EMEA at Facebook, interviews three Bristol based businesses that have grown via social media platforms.

  • Helena Hills, founder at TrueStart Coffee
  • Claire Russel, founder at PlayHooray
  • Molly Masters, founder at Books That Matter
  • 3.15pm: Make me famous: converting a farmhouse into one of the most in-demand dog hotels in the country

Rebecca Linnell, co-founder of the Country Dog Hotel and Sarah Barratt, writer from Country Living Magazine, discuss how a business with a difference rose from the hills of Somerset and landed a double page spread in one of the nation’s most sought after lifestyle magazines.

  • 3.45pm: Female Start-up of the Year 2019

Dan Martin, Enterprise Nation Bristol local leader, interviews previous winners to find out what’s happened since:

  • Mel Bound, This Mum Runs, 2016 winner
  • Ruth Bradford, Black & White Book Project, 2018 winner

Four judges will then take to the stage to crown the Enterprise Nation Female Start-up of the Year 2019. The winner will receive amazing prizes to help them and their business flourish and grow. Applications will open on 1 August 2019.

  • 4.30pm: Drinks reception and Female Start-up of the Year 2019: Winner announcement

The winner of the 2019 competition will be announced whilst we all enjoy a glass of bubbles to celebrate.

  • 5.00pm: Event ends
Ticket bookings
Location: Mercure Bristol Grand hotel Broad St Bristol BS1 2EL