Research and reports
A visual merchandiser and greeting card maker is the lucky winner of our Empowering Women in Business competition.
Out of more than 1,600 entries, Tina Cox from Bristol has been chosen to meet with Baroness Karren Brady CBE for a business mentoring session.
She’ll get one hour of valuable time with the business expert to help her decide what’s next for her business.
Founded in 2019, Dapple pop studio is a stationery and styling business focused on sustainability and design.
Ever since feeling inspired by artist Rob Ryan and his ‘paper cutting magic’, Tina has been passionate about crafting with paper.
Using seeded plantable paper for greetings cards and wedding invitations, the creative studio delights customers with eco-conscious materials. The cards can be planted after use and they produce a beautiful array of wild flowers.
She also uses her experience as a visual merchandiser for luxury fashion brands to support businesses with window styling and in-store design.
Our research with female business owners found out some of the barriers women face in the business world. One in five don’t feel they're taken seriously compared to males in their industry. While 38 per cent said a one-to-one mentorship from a business expert would help support them.
In her experience as a new business owner, Tina said: “Running my own business has forced me to face my fears straight on, continually overcoming low confidence and worry of judgement from others.
“Having lots of female friends who also run businesses helps so much, from talking things through with encouragement to overcome those barriers and keep moving forward.”
We’re proud to have partnered with Baroness Brady to offer this mentorship as she’s long been a champion for women in business.
As well as starring on the BBC’s The Apprentice, she’s a prominent speaker and was awarded a CBE for her services to women and entrepreneurship in 2013.
“We need to harness the talents, ambitions and drive of women, at any business, big or small. I’m proud to partner with Simply Business to shine a light on sexism and bias in business – it’s an ongoing challenge we need to resolve,” Baroness Brady explained.
“Supporting and mentoring one female entrepreneur, and giving them the skills and tools they need to flourish, is a positive step forward in this journey,” she added.
Tina has plenty of questions for Karren and hopes to get advice on how to move her business forward. She said: “I'm eager to learn from her high level and vast experience in the business world and how I can use this to better myself and the business.”
Tina shared her plans for the business in her prize-winning entry: “This year we’re focusing on new products and growing our business into wholesale, as well as building our wedding stationery audience.”
Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, said: “At Simply Business, we’re proud to be able to offer one female business owner the opportunity to receive an exclusive, one-on-one mentoring session with Karren.
“We’re excited to see the positive impact Karren will have on supporting an entrepreneur in the next phase of their business journey.”
Reacting to the news that she’d won the competition, Tina told us: “It was so unexpected! I’ve been saying from the start of the year that I want to look for a mentor who will guide me and the business to take the next steps, and then I won an hour with Karren.
“It’s an absolute dream come true as she is such an icon for female entrepreneurs.”
Thinking about getting a mentor to help you with your business? Our guide to finding a business mentor is a good place to start.
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Catriona Smith is a content and marketing professional with 12 years’ experience across the financial services, higher education, and insurance sectors. She’s also a trained NCTJ Gold Standard journalist. As a Senior Copywriter at Simply Business, Catriona has in-depth knowledge of small business concerns and specialises in tax, marketing, and business operations. Catriona lives in the seaside city of Brighton where she’s also a freelance yoga teacher.
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