Chelsea FC Women legend Claire Rafferty recently joined participants on our Female Entrepreneur Programme to share her unique story of perseverance and resilience.

The Chelsea FC Foundation Entrepreneur Programme, which is in its fifth year now, is a learning experience for people looking to turn a business into reality and while the programme has been running, there has been an increase in the number of female participants attending.To demonstrate our support and commitment to equality and diversity we commenced our first Female Entrepreneur Programme last month.Rafferty, who was part of both Chelsea Women’s domestic doubles in 2015 and 2018, joined the first-ever female group to talk through her journey and the highs and lows she encountered during her professional career.She said: ‘I really enjoyed the opportunity to share my footballing journey and how the highs and lows shaped me as a person.‘The commonality amongst the group is that they will all come up against hurdles and obstacles when starting a business but it is about the development of resilience and accepting that failure is part of success that will stand them in good stead.’

The programme is an intensive three-week learning experience for people looking to turn a business idea into reality.Monica, a participant on the programme joined the online webinar with former Blues defender Rafferty and she said: ‘Claire is very down to Earth! She was incredibly open with us about her journey from football player to her new role as partnership sales manager at Chelsea.‘She appears to be constantly adapting to what life brings and not taking things for granted.‘Personally I think that the fact that a footballer of her standing was willing to show her vulnerable side to a room full of strangers was heart-warming and particularly poignant for us now, as women who are trying to make our own way into the business world.‘Claire's story goes to show that success is a consequence of integrity and constant hard work and I am really grateful to have had the chance to meet her.’Lead enterprise tutor James Byford added: ‘Up until meeting Claire, our first Female Entrepreneur group have been working through many of the practical aspects of developing a business idea.‘We asked Claire to talk about her career focusing on the themes of perseverance and resilience to kick-off the second week of our Programme.‘What followed was a candid and grounded account of the highs and lows of Claire’s journey in relation to the themes which the group really enjoyed discussing with her.‘It has given everyone involved an amazing insight and a hugely inspirational sense of connection at a human level.'To find out more information email [email protected]