Roll up, roll up, your county (and country) needs you!

It was a great honour to be invited to join some 70 other business people at WWF last week to celebrate Woking’s thriving economy.

The event was hosted by Woking County councilArcom IT and Hamlyns who gave us a great insight into the highest achieving businesses based right under our noses across Woking. From some of the more obvious names like McLaren and SAB Miller to some less well-known names, Bisley and DB Apparel, all of these thriving businesses have contributed to the total business revenue of Woking, a staggering 22.8 billion for 2014.

Jonathan Lord MP spoke about his pride in the recent transformation Woking has seen and how the town has attracted world-leading companies, big and small. Councillor Ray Morgan reminded the audience that Woking was originally established as a place where London could send its dead, but now boasts an economical vitality that many towns can only dream of. Chris Hamlyn and Shahid Azeem then gave a run down of the report published that day ‘The Woking Economy – Annual Report & Accounts”

The evening ended with special awards for eight of the highest achieving businesses, the most notable to me being DB Apparel. Notable in part because who knew that Wonderbra and Playtex were based right here in Woking – but also because that’s the moment it really struck me…there was a distinct lack of female representation in the room!

This is a real shame, because we’re not lacking female talent in Surrey, as our Top Business Women in Surrey 2015 list clearly shows.

So why the discrepancy? Around a million SME businesses in the UK are now majority-led by women, but that’s still only 20% (though the UK still outperforms Germany and France). Worse still, in the FTSE 100 there’s still only a measly 17.3% women that make it to the boardroom!

So there’s still work to be done: we need to keep promoting and celebrating those who have broken through and overcome the many obstacles faced by women in business, and encourage and inspire others to do the same.

One such great role model is Marica Carleschi, Group Marketing Manager from DB Apparel who collected the award for most successful company of the year at this event. We’re delighted she’s agreed to guest blog for us – we’ll let you know through Twitter when it’s posted!

It’s worth noting that International Women’s Day is now just around the corner providing a fantastic platform for us all to celebrate the success of women in the business world. We will be hosting our annual International Women’s Day event on 10th March and would love for you to join us and our inspirational panel of speakers who will be talking about their roles as senior female leaders and the work being undertaken globally to support and encourage entrepreneurism amongst women.

For more information, please click here

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