“We need more women accepting the challenge of expanding their businesses, as female entrepreneurship can be a major catalyst in triggering economic growth.”
That’s the view of Patricia Bindi, Head of Commercial Banking in Argentina. She runs a programme called ‘Mujeres al Mundo’ (Women to the World) that’s helping businesswomen connect with opportunities locally and internationally through networking events and training.
When Patricia was in the UK last month as part of an Argentine-British Chamber of Commerce delegation, she visited AllBright’s London base to experience its latest Pitch Day – at which selected businesswomen seeking funding were given three minutes to ‘pitch’ their ideas to investors and industry leaders.
“AllBright is doing an outstanding job encouraging women in business, and I found in them a lot of things that resonate with what we are thinking and doing at HSBC Argentina,” said Patricia.
“It was a very inspiring experience. There were some tough questions, but also constructive and respectful feedback.”
Patricia travelled from Argentina with 20 entrepreneurs interested in UK investment opportunities. The AllBright pitch event helped them understand current UK business trends and the appetite for expanding internationally.
“There is a moment in the business planning where you have to take the risk and embrace your dreams – expand your network, be curious and passionate,” said Patricia.
“Failure is a necessary part of learning and growing. Sisterhood works: Surround yourself with inspiring women.”
“I am very proud of the sense of connectivity and collaboration I have found in my UK colleagues,” she said. “We have a strength: our people. It was very well appreciated by all those who travelled.”
Women in business: Tips and advice
Charlotte Roach is the founder of Rabble, which aims to make fitness fun and social by delivering workouts through games rather than in the gym. Charlotte was among the businesses at AllBright’s Pitch Day in January.
“It’s always great to meet female entrepreneurs as there are not a lot of them out there,” she said. “If you’re thinking about pitching go for it – what have you got to lose?”
Charlotte, who was training as a cyclist for the 2012 Olympics before suffering an injury, said the most difficult part of starting a business is taking the leap.
“What struck me when I left the world of sport was that at exercises classes, no one spoke to each other. Gym was a chore and I wanted it to be a highlight.”
“I had the idea for Rabble six months before I quit my job and decided to live off fear. I lived off part-time jobs, coaching and tutoring. Have real belief in your idea and take on feedback.”
Charlotte got advice on her expansion plans from Chris Rose, Private Wealth Entrepreneur Relationship Manager. Read his top five tips for people looking to create a start-up:
1. It’s easy to get carried away with multiple ‘light bulb moments’. Focus on one idea and doing it well.
2. Join a hub or group of entrepreneurs to network and learn from each other’s mistakes. This can reduce the cost of going back to the drawing board.
3. Take any advice or help on offer. Some may seem irrelevant right now, but as your business evolves it could be a useful piece of the overall jigsaw.
4. Research your market and make good use of social media. Not many start-ups have money. Platforms like Instagram allow brands to post product-based content and poll their target audience to vote on their preference. You’ll receive direct feedback, saving money and time.
5. Don’t rule out collaboration with other brands. Working together could help open more doors and prove mutually beneficial.