Industry comes together to champion growth of women in business at Inspirational Women’s Super Summit

Barclays hosted an evening bringing together influencers across business and policy, to help support more women and micro businesses to get on the ladder and accelerate the growth of their businesses.

The event, facilitated by Sonia Brown MBE founder of the National Black Women’s Network, saw over 100 attendees across a range of business owners, MPs and senior men and women in industry. A keynote speech was delivered by Her Excellency The Honourable Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK, before a panel debate with industry experts, while Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for DECC closed the evening.


Her Excellency The Honourable Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, Jamaican High Commissioner to the UK; Baroness Verma, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for International Development; Jagdeep Rai (Barclays) and Sonia Brown MBE (NBWN)

Key themes at the event included discussions on breaking stereotypes of female lifestyle businesses and identifying inhibitors, motivators and drivers for female success. The panel also looked at the facilitation and support of women within large corporates to progress through business and senior management positions, in addition to female leadership in high growth businesses.

Matt Tuck, Head of Global Corporate Banking at Barclays welcomed attendees:  “Entrepreneurship brings huge value to the UK economy, driving growth, jobs, innovation and helping to foster the kind of export mentality the UK needs to succeed on a world stage. Understanding the different motivations and challenges for male and female entrepreneurs is key to delivering the right support for growth. While we have seen real progress in recent years, there is much more today and Barclays is calling on the industry and policy makers to help us ramp up the pace of change.”

Sonia Brown MBE led the panel: “Organisations need a greater commitment to cultural awareness and education as well as nurturing talent if they wish to accelerate the pace of change for women.  We no longer have to justify the business case for diversity; what we need is multiple micro actions that challenge the status quo and lead to positive change across the business.  We need to see men as positive agents of change not inhibitors to the long term solution. Our speakers demonstrated that greater exposure to credible role models, strategic mentoring and increased self-belief will ensure that women are empowered to seek promotions and start businesses in greater numbers in the UK.”

The panel included:

  • Sharron Gunn, Executive Director, Institute of Chartered Accountants, England & Wales
  •  Jane Galvin, MD Eastern Region, Barclays Corporate Banking
  • Chief Detective Super Intendant Sue Williams, MPS Redbridge
  • Mary Macleod, former MP for Brentford and Isleworth and Prime Minister’s Small Business Ambassador
  • Alison Pritchard, Director, Government Equalities Office

A recent Barclays report in partnership with the Centre for Entrepreneurs found that women entrepreneurs are equally or more ambitious than men when it comes to starting and scaling-up businesses, despite encountering more barriers.  Women entrepreneurs are also less likely than men to display overconfidence when evaluating the track record of their business. Almost two thirds of the male entrepreneurs surveyed (62%) were more likely than women (42%) to state that their business was prospering, despite the fact that the women-led businesses studied reported higher profits in comparison.

For further information about the Inspirational Women’s Super Summit email: