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Our Stunning International Women’s Day (by Euella Swan)

International Women’s Day, a day that comes around once a year to commemorate the cultural, political, and socioeconomic achievements of women globally.

Here at start-up Croydon, we were joined by an inspiring group of female speakers to help celebrate the day. Talking about their stories and sharing the wisdom and knowledge they’ve gained over the years to inspire others. It was an exceptional day filled with heartfelt connections, networking and overall excitement; between both the men and women who came out on the day. The room was radiating with good energy throughout, which was prevalent in the atmosphere.

All of our speakers captivated the audience in their own way. With our opening presentation coming from Start-up Croydon’s very first female CEO, what better way to start of international women’s day.

Our first speaker, Chupa Phiri, talked about how after completing, our 2-month incubator programme here at Start-up Croydon, she was given the tools and confidence to become a successful business woman herself. Coming from a corporate fundraising background with over 20 years experience, to taking her knowledge and flourishing on her own, Chupa is now the founder and managing director of Oko Consultancy , and apart from being an expert trainer, she has also set up a Community Foundation in her native, Zambia which inspires local giving and supports community-based organisations through providing grants and develops capacity, especially to for young girls who do not have the same educational opportunities as boys.

Lisa Allen, who is a volunteer mentor on our incubator course, then gave an interactive presentation on how our performances in everyday tasks are directly linked to our energy and emotion, and how substituting a negative energy for a more positive one can have such a huge difference on your output on work and overall life. The entire room was alive as people were encouraged to share with one another challenges they have overcome. Featured in our newsletter recently, Lisa’s Croydon based business, Islanda , specialises in emotional intelligence (EQ)

I must say the highlight of the day was the presentation given by Cllr Toni Letts OBE, who is a trustee for our organisation, ex-Mayor of Croydon, and a true cheerleader for all small businesses in Croydon especially female-led organisations.; not only was she uplifting, but she gave all those in the room who have ever felt at a loss, a sense of aspiration towards the future. Toni shared stories of women she’s worked with over the years, all of whom were in what seemed to be hopeless situations when she met them, yet overcame situations similar to hers, with strength, tenacity and time.  Her stories shone a light on just how strong we as women are, and proves that with just a little support we can achieve everything, if not more than our heart’s desire.

Without a doubt the day was a huge success, not just because of the turnout, but because all who attended left with a new sense of self and new connections. And what better way to celebrate international women’s day then being surrounded by entrepreneurial women from various sectors and in the best place to call your business home, here at Start-up Croydon.

If you are interested in joining our community for support, or to inspire and support others, we would love to hear from you.

We were very grateful to the Honourable, the Mayor of Croydon, Sherwan Chowdhury, who is a huge advocator of International Women’s Day, and helped us with our announcements and introductions during his visit.  The Mayor came to the UK from Bangladesh in 1976 and has represented as a councillor since 2006.

“Growing up, I was inspired by my father’s passion for community work. He was a community pharmacist, helping the poorest and most vulnerable access medical care. This inspired me to live a life which helped others. I became involved with local politics in 1990. When I first moved to Croydon, I opened a restaurant in Thornton Heath. Later I moved into the insurance industry as a branch manager for Alico in East Croydon. Realising my passion for helping people, I changed career to work within the social housing sector which I have now done for 26 years. My wife has worked locally as a teaching assistant for over 30 years.

In my personal life, I have always tried to support those who need that little extra help to reach their full potential. I am a first-generation immigrant who this country has given an opportunity, and I want to ensure that every person has the same or better. That they do not face discrimination in any form, and that they get that chance to explore and secure their aspirations and dreams.”

If you would like to donate towards the Mayor’s charities, please see below:

  • The Lily Pad Appeal: raising funds to create a new, state-of-the-art Children’s Oncology Unit at Croydon University Hospital.
  • Crisis UK: the national charity for homeless people, helping people directly out of homelessness and campaigning for change.
  • Beani Bazar Cancer and General Hospital: improving awareness of cancer symptoms among disadvantaged communities in rural Sylhet, Bangladesh.

And a huge thank you to our sponsors

We would like to thank our sponsors, Vestd, who provided us with the funds to organise an amazing hot lunch through Buffets by Design.

Vestd is the UK’s first, most advanced and only regulated digital share scheme platform for SMEs. Here’s what makes it stand out:

  • Guided set-up and lifetime support
  • Full Companies House integration
  • No need to involve accountants or lawyers
  • Schemes for teams, advisors and NEDs

Join for a little as £25 – using the code at the bottom of the offer below, exclusive to the StartUp Croydon business community. Book a free call now!

Launch @ Vestd – Startup Croydon

A short note from our Kick-starter, Euella Swan (author of this news item)

Prior to getting my job here at Start-up Croydon I was working a job at another company in which I felt my hard work and effort was not appreciated, and was left feeling quite unfulfilled. But since starting my role here, I have been treated as a valued member of the team with a magnitude of opportunities to grow within my position in the business. The team here, although small, are all very friendly and welcoming though it’s only been 4 weeks since my start I can already see my future here being a bright one. 

As someone who didn’t go to university like the majority of my agemates, as I moved to New York after the completion of my GCSE’s, I always struggled to find a career path I’d be passionate about and not get bored of within a month’s times. I am hoping my role here as events marketing assistant will give me more direction of where I want to go in the future. My hopes are that I will head more in the direction of digital marketing, as an avid user of social media myself with a small following on a few platforms I believe it would be something of great interest to me.  

Since joining I’ve had the chance to sit in on their start up entrepreneur courses, and although I myself have never had any intentions of starting up my own business. The support and information I’ve gotten from here could be a potential business direction I go in. 

Someday I would love to move again, possibly to Canada this time! I’ve always believed that life is about taking risks and not allowing myself to be tied down to a certain location/job etc forever. I’d love to be able to explore the world more and hopefully my experience here will give me the credentials to go on and do so 

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