Carly’s visit to the House of Lords

I was listed on the F:entrepreneur #ialso100 list in 2021 but the inaugural visit to the House of Lords fell foul of covid. Therefore the 2021 winners were invited to attend with the 2022 group. A fabulous coming together of nearly 200 of the most inspiring female entrepreneurs in Britain, those females that not only run their business but “also” do other things that positively impact the lives of others.

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The f:Entrepreneur#ialso100 celebrates and showcases amazing female entrepreneurs from all over the UK and is brought to you by the f:Entrepreneur campaign, run by Small Business Britain. The goal of the campaign is to celebrate the dynamic and inspirational businesses led by women in the UK. Michelle Ovens, founder of Small Business Britain says “It is so vital that we recognise and celebrate the phenomenal contribution that women running businesses are making across the UK and the far reaching, positive impact they are having, not just on the economy but on wider communities too.”

My story is that I manage Beeutiful as well as Chairing my son’s Special School PTA and am the training manager for my local beekeeping association. I am passionate about both of these but yes they take my time and see me pulled in various directions. However, in my mind it is important to give back, you need to say thank you by assisting others in whatever way you can and this is my way.

So a visit to the House of Lords – wow, check me! I wasn’t really sure what to expect of the day but it was brilliant. We arrived at 12:15, went through security, lots of uniformed police about, and then were ushered into a stunning room, greeted with prosecco and shown onto a terrace overlooking the Thames. This was a real networking opportunity, a chance to meet and chat with female entrepreneurs from as diverse a range of businesses as you can imagine. I met everyone from social media consultants to cookery school owners to a farmer. After a few pictures on the very windy terrace overlooking the Thames we were addressed by Dr. Rosena Allin-Khan MP for Tooting, Shadow Cabinet Minister for Mental Health and A&E Doctor, with a to-do list that long she really is the epitome of #ialso. She shared her moving story, gave us words of wisdom, allowed us to feel empowered and really is everything that female entrepreneurs and the #ialso campaign stands for. A truly inspiring lady with a truly inspirational story to tell.

Next Rhian Parry, founder of Workplace Worksafe suppling PPE equipment (what a crazy past two years!), and of Windfarm Worksafe supplying safety equipment to wind farms. Just like Dr. Rosena, Rhian had an inspirational story which she told with humour whilst delivering her message of resilience and determination. Again, a shining example of female spirit, strength, mind over matter and working around barriers to success. A lunch of canapes whilst furthering my chatting saw the rest of the afternoon fly by, a quick visit to the Houses of Parliament Gift Shop and we reconvened in a public house round the corner!

It really was an extraordinary event to attend, to be a part of and one I feel very privileged to have been selected for. I am not a feminist by any means but I do feel women generally have a harder role to fulfil, wear many different hats compared to their male counterparts and are not always given the same opportunities. It was certainly true in my case that I changed my career to meet the needs of my son when he was diagnosed with a disability, I re-routed my own direction and continue to do so as his needs evolve. This was a choice I made but I feel a necessary choice. I therefore juggle my business with my family as well as the voluntary work I do – hence my appearance on the f:entrepreneur #ialso100 2021 list.

Attending the House of Lords event was incredible. It was purely inspiring meeting

so many amazing female business founders

and the perfect celebration to fall in the same week as International Women’s Day.

Carly x

(Small Business Britain is the UK’s leading champion of small businesses, supporting the UK’s 6 million small businesses no matter their location, their sector or their ambition level. Through a series of campaigns, networks, training and reports Small Business Britain champions and informs small businesses in the UK. Committed to making entrepreneurship as inclusive as possible it brings small business owners together to foster growth and increased confidence.)

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