Founder of Alison at Home and Make It Your Business.

Alison has enjoyed a highly successful career as the founder of numerous businesses, including Alison at Home and Carnell Ltd, the latter making her the youngest female entrepreneur of a publicly quoted company.

Throughout her career, Alison has been a consistent advocate of female entrepreneurship, which she channeled into her founding of Make It Your Business, a nationwide network supporting and encouraging women to start their own business. Her services to female entrepreneurship were duly recognized, when she was awarded an MBE in 2023.

In our latest breakfast event, Alison discussed the ever-important topic of the environment for female entrepreneurship in Britain today. Describing how she caught the entrepreneurial bug early on, Alison delved into her extensive career history, and shed light on mental and physical benefits brought through business ownership. Resilience was central to this discussion, and she was candid about how her rejections and failures have only served to bolster this and fuel her ambition for success. Similarly, Alison spoke of the importance for entrepreneurs to have the stamina to withstand the turbulence of running a business and stressed the potency of the link between a healthy body and a healthy mind. This, Alison said, was pivotal to maintaining momentum in what can be an exhausting environment – something proven by the fact that she founded National Women’s Enterprise Week only last year.

Key to Alison’s talk was the suggestion that entrepreneurship needs to be cultivated in individuals early-on, by offering lessons in business leadership as early as primary school level. This, she noted, would not only instil in young people the confidence that they need to take risks, but would also teach them about the importance of, and normalise the prospect of, failure. Remarking on the lack of successful female entrepreneurs to look up to when she was founded her first business, Alison noted that by educating individuals, especially girls, earlier on, burgeoning female business leaders would have more mentors and guides to take inspiration from.

It was a pleasure to listen to Alison speak, and we hope that more women take inspiration from entrepreneurs like Alison and take the plunge to start their own business!

The next breakfast in our series will be with guest speaker Polly Mackenzie, journalist, policy expert and podcast-er, who will discuss ‘Cool Britannia 2.0: creative industries, the 2024 general election, and the jobs of the future’.