Exhibiting and sponsoring a female founders event

19 October 2022 | Newsletter

Welcome to The Fight for Fairer Funding newsletter where we share the latest in the fight for fairer funding in investment, raise awareness and provide education in line with our Mission. This newsletter from Funding Focus founder, David B. Horne, is part of the platform that sheds light on the uneven playing field that female and under-represented entrepreneurs of all genders face when it comes to raising capital for their businesses. We hope you enjoy it!

Read our latest edition below.

Recently the team at Funding Focus had the pleasure of exhibiting at the Women’s Business Club’s (WBC) annual conference in Cheltenham, UK. We were also the sponsor of WBC’s Female Founder of the Year award.

Many people have asked us before: what is it like to exhibit and sponsor events? Allow me to share the experience with you.

Let’s start with the award. As sponsor, our team was invited to judge the entrants and select the winners. We were given the names and details of 12 female founders who had been shortlisted by the organisers. As a first step, we crafted an email to each of the finalists, congratulating them on being a finalist and asking them to submit a 10-minute video (shot on the phone, this wasn’t a video production competition) answering a series of questions about themselves, their journey and their business.

The list was quickly whittled down to 9, because three of the finalists didn’t bother to submit a video. Their loss.

Our team took time to watch each video and independently score them against a set of criteria we had agreed on. Additionally, a couple of members took the time to do a bit more research into each business — looking at accounts and other filings on Companies House; doing a deep-dive into each website; looking at each founder’s profile on LinkedIn and other social media. After all, if you are going for the Female Founder of the Year award, it’s important that we assess the winners on a wide range of criteria.

Our team then met on Zoom to share scores and findings. Based on the scoring of the videos, we were able to reduce the field from 9 to 4, who were in with a real chance. Then the real discussions began, and from the additional research we made our decision on the winner and runner-up. It was a close-run thing and there were some very interesting debates as to who came first and second. It’s the first time I have judged an award, and I’m grateful for the input from everyone on our team. More on the results later.

The event itself was excellent. Held in the Pittville Pump Room, a grand old building set in lovely park lands in Cheltenham, it was so nice to be able to meet so many people in real life again!

More than a hundred female founders attended on the day, and as one of the exhibitors we were able to meet with many of them. The organisers had arranged it so that attendees could book one-to-one meetings, and that gave each founder the opportunity to present her business and have time for a good discussion with us. There have been a number of subsequent discussions, and more are in the diary.

The highlight of the day was when I stood on the stage to present the winners. Bear in mind, I was the only man who stood on that stage on that day, and I opened my address saying: “Spot the odd one out” which got a nice laugh from the audience. But this wasn’t about me. This was about the women who were vying to win the coveted Female Founder of the Year award.

And the winner is…

… ✨Sophie Parker✨ from Tutor In A Box, with Rebecca Worsley of Rainy City Agency coming in a close second.

Each of the finalists should be proud of getting this far in the competition, as there were many more entrants, and in awards like these there can only be one overall winner. Each of the finalists also gets a free one-to-one consultation with me and a signed copy of Funded Female Founders.

All in all, the day was both successful and enjoyable. If you find yourself with the opportunity to do something like this, and if it’s a good fit with your business, I recommend doing something similar. We are looking forward to working with the team at @Women’s Business Club in future.

Do you have any questions related to this or events in general? Let me know in the comments below!

Until next time…

With love and gratitude,


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