EMPOWERING female entrepreneurs was the order of the day at a MP’s Enterprise Fair.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage hosted the second annual Enterprise Fair at St Vincent College in Mill Lane – in association with Gosport Borough Council and the Solent LEP.
More than 120 entrepreneurs from businesses across the town gathered in the college’s Jervis Gallery for the afternoon to network, share advice on growing their businesses and to get tips from an expert panel of successful businesswomen.
Ms Dinenage said: ‘I was 18 when I started my own business. Since then, I have been lucky enough to meet hundreds of local businesses and see them grow to become part of the town’s identity.
‘I am also really passionate about empowering female entrepreneurs, because business isn’t just a man’s world.
‘In 2015 there were 421 businesses that opened up in Gosport – but that pales by comparison to other places in the region, so we need to up our game and show the world what we’re made of.’
The MP was joined by a panel of businesswomen from the area, who took questions from guests in a question and answer session.
Questions ranged from how the entrepreneurs got their big break, to what they do to enjoy some down time.
Joanna Murchie from CV Essentials said: ‘Your brand is everything when starting out.
‘Working by yourself, you soon learn that you have to become an expert in everything.
‘The best way to run a business is to learn from your mistakes. Speak to other people about the mistakes you have made, and learn from them fast, because you will make so many when first starting out.’
Shelina Permalloo, who won BBC’S Masterchef in 2012, was also on the panel.
She said: ‘I started out by going to networking events such as this one.
‘They are incredibly important when starting out.
‘I think the most important thing is that if you get opportunities come around, take them with both hands but also share them with others. We are all in the same boat, after all.’
Finishing the event, a networking session ensued where guests had the opportunity to circulate with 18 exhibitor organisations including the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Job Centre and Basepoint Gosport.