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Speak joins ‘You Make It’ event for female entrepreneurs

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Our partnership with women’s employment charity ‘You Make It’ gets underway as Director Paul Williams joins a Dragon’s Den-style judging panel offering advice to young entrepreneurs

Speak is delighted to announce its partnership with ‘You Make It’ – a charity supporting young women in east London through its award-winning employment programme.

The initiative, founded by long-term Bethnal Green resident Asma Shah, focusses on giving underprivileged women the skills and contacts to find work, secure financial independence and pursue their passions.

Over the course of the six-month programme, ‘You Make It’ offers each cohort of women a series of mentoring sessions, workshops and work placements – finishing with a graduation ceremony and alumni scheme to keep participants connected.

Speak’s Paul Williams kickstarted our involvement by appearing on the judging panel for the charity’s ‘Ladies’ Den’ event alongside Devin Hunt, a venture partner at Seedcamp, Rob Ferrone, a CEO of Quick Release, and founder Asma Shah. The evening saw 10 young women from the programme pitch startup ideas in the hope of winning 12 months of business coaching, small cash grants and access to free co-working space.

Impressed with the sheer range of business ideas – which included a clothing range fusing African fabrics and European style, a graphic novel exploring the issues facing young black women and an exciting new history and heritage card game – judges were there to offer as much expertise, insight and encouragement as possible. 

Paul Williams, said: “I was truly inspired hearing from the ten women pitching to the den. They’d clearly put a lot of effort into developing their business ideas, and all struck me as motivated and determined individuals, each having overcome adversity to get to this position. 

“It’s clear to see the positive impact ‘You Make It’ is having on this group of women, and naturally we’re keen to support organisations such as theirs wherever we can.”

Photo credit: Bettina Adela Photography

Roisin McCormack