Event motto: If you have been successful send the elevator back down

Women send the elevator downOn 3rd December 2008 UBS played host to the Female Internet Heroes Event organised by The Next Women in collaboration with Fresh Ideas Events.  The evening was a resounding success and a total sell out days before the event. Chaired by Lisa Sounio of social network Dopplr, the evening began with drinks and stalls from five companies: Remote Employment, The Language Of…, Mint Twist, Blu Bangle and Socialite London.

With everyone seated in great anticipation, Jackie Brennan of Fresh Ideas Events set the stage for the speakers to follow with a mentoring anecdote from Jack Lemon: ‘If you have been successful then send the elevator back down’. Simone Brummelhuis continued in this vain as she introduced the concept behind The NextWomen and online business.

With humour in the air, UBS stepped in for a gloomy outlook on the global economy – banks no longer lending; falling house prices and job losses, but as with every optimistic entrepreneur Simone pointed out the positives – a market swamped with highly qualified people all looking for work.  Exactly what a start-up needs.

The enigmatic Katarina Skoberne – co-founder of OpenAd.net - was the first of three speakers with an inspiring presentation on the journey of an online business from start to finish.  Kept on her toes by Lisa’s timekeeping, she embellished her knowledge with her own life story, proving if you have entrepreneurial spirit and the drive you can make anything happen.

Responsible for planning, creating and executing media partnerships for the UK’s largest women’s website – ivillage.co.uk - Lulu Phongmany shared her experience on business development and revenue generation.  It was then to Andrea Cockerton, founder of Mudhut, to talk the nitty gritty of finance.  Interviewed by Katarina Skoberne, she gave the essential parts to a successful pitch:
• A growing market
• Correct management – experienced and likeable
• An idea that makes the most of the market

Having heard from the experienced, it was time for four start-ups to pitch their ideas to Katarina, Andrea and Jenny Fielding of Astia.  The prize – mentoring from Andrea Cockerton herself.

Julia Macmillan started with three minutes on toyboywarehouse.com and its 15,000 registered members which went live in 2007.  Next was Sue Guerrieri of SugaPlumShop.com, a start-up for age appropriate teenage underwear.  Then came Anna Colclough of Tourdust.com a site looking to provide Long Trail travel, and finally Alicia Navarro, founder of Skimbit.com who now introduced the new product Skimlinks.

After questioning from both the panel and the assembled entrepreneurs, the prize went to the aptly named tobyboywarehouse.com – an online dating site for older ladies to find younger men, leaving us all wishing we had come up with the idea first.

Armed with plenty of food for thought, the 100 women (and indeed the odd man) headed back to an evening of networking over champagne and nibbles before heading home, no doubt, to dream up their next business venture.

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