Latest News | 7 March 2022

Bondholders join forces to mark International Women’s Day

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A group of Bondholder businesses led by female entrepreneurs have joined forces to create a special product to mark International Women’s Day.

Personalised letterbox gift company Colleague Box, co-founded by Natalie Bamford, has collaborated with a number of businesses – including So Good Kombucha and Divine Box to produce special edition gift boxes celebrating small companies led by inspirational females.

Natalie herself will today mark International Women’s Day by giving a speech for fellow female leaders at the launch of East Midlands Chamber’s Enterprising Women Awards in Chesterfield.

The former teaching assistant is the awards’ reigning Business Woman of the Year.

Natalie, who founded the business with husband Adam during the pandemic, said: “There really is a huge amount of talent in our region and it’s a privilege to be able to collaborate with them on the International Women’s Day gift box.

“What’s also great is that so many of these businesses have inspirational women at the helm; women who have either changed their business model or set up their company during a global pandemic, often while juggling home-schooling and working from home.”

Following its launch, Colleague Box turned over £1 million after just five months and is now approaching its second birthday.

Natalie, who works alongside husband Adam at the firm’s 8,000 sq ft warehouse in Alfreton Road, in Derby, said: “I’m mum of two strong-minded girls myself and I hope that they can see what I’m doing, how hard Adam and I work for what we’ve achieved and that I can am a good role model for them.

“I’m lucky enough, too, to work alongside my own mum, who has been my rock and champion since I was born and particularly when I contracted meningitis at the age of 10. She inspires me on a daily basis.”

The limited-edition gift box contains kombucha, a sweet, fermented cold tea that is popular in China, which has been made by Lesley So, founder of So Good Kombucha.

At the start of the year, Lesley, who worked for Rolls-Royce before founding her business, was named Marketing Derby’s Rising Star – and recently delivered an inspirational Dare to Dream speech at the inward investment agency’s recent Annual Business Event.

Lesley said: “I have always had a dream of starting up a business with a social purpose and so, in 2020, I left my job to pursue this dream.

“I had initially planned to go travelling but lockdown meant that I couldn’t, so I spent that time brewing kombucha with the aim of introducing the UK to the most delicious and authentically healthy kombucha that money can buy.

“I wanted to offer a healthy alternative to sugary fizzy drinks and the response has been fantastic. The business has a huge emphasis on being eco-friendly and making a positive impact on people’s lives, creating a way for the marginalised in Derby to be able to find employment.”

Today, inspirational female entrepreneurs like Lesley will be encouraged to enter the chamber’s Enterprising Women Awards, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary.

Three new categories have been added for this year – Lifetime Achievement Award, Diversity Champion and Rising Star.

Entries are now open for the awards, which will be presented on 30 September.
Jean Mountain, co-chair of Enterprising Women, said: “We’re so excited about ramping up the celebrations for our 25th year as a network and to top it off, we wanted to create an extra-special edition of our Enterprising Women Awards.

“Adding three new categories offers a great opportunity to recognise even more successful people who are fantastic ambassadors of enterprising women.”

The deadline for entries is 29 April. For more information and to enter please click here.

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