Whether starting up after relocating in the UK, seeking to regain confidence after redundancy, or finally enacting a long-standing ambition to turn a personal passion into an income – for many of the 14 women that completed the Chelsea Foundation’s three-week intensive Female Entrepreneur Programme, it was, as one participant put it ‘a transformative life experience’.
The group quickly found ways to collaborate and support each other and their business ideas even where there was overlap.
Following the programme, an active network has been formed by the group with plans to regularly meet online and face-to-face as restrictions are lifted.
Programme lead, James Byford said: ‘The spirit of empathy, collaboration and inspiration in the group was moving at times.
‘On pitch day, we had a truly momentous occasion with tears shed following evidence of one participant’s strength to deliver a great pitch after overcoming profound adversity.
‘This really summed up the impact our programme is having on many people, and we look forward to helping many more female entrepreneurs next season after two successful pilots in 2020-2021.’
Nikki Kahn, who is the founder of a brand of luxury sustainable coconut wax and crystal candles, joined the Chelsea Foundation Female Entrepreneur course with one goal and that was to regain her self-confidence, but it turned out the programme offered much, much more.
She said: ‘What I gained from taking part in the course wasn't just my confidence, I gained access to a network of women who champion selfcare and wellbeing at their core.
‘We have all learned to be bold, take action, speak up, and to have faith in our dreams. Starting a business takes guts and determination.
‘Setbacks and rainy days come and go but the network you build to support you and your business is the foundation that will help you stand out and stand tall through any adversity.
‘I have found an amazing network of women, who support me but also challenge my way of thinking. This experience has truly changed me and the way I am building the foundations of my business.’