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Wellness Warriors: the women reshaping the health and fitness industry


Celebrate International Women’s Month with us at the British Library as we bring together an inspiring panel discussion with five boundary-breaking women entrepreneurs who are transforming the health and fitness industry. As part of our Inspiring Entrepreneurs series, this event provides a unique chance to hear from influential women business founders and put your questions to them.

Our ’wellness warriors’ will share their extensive experience of setting up and scaling personal training businesses, fitness apps, pioneering athletic wear brands and more. With the fitness industry valued at just under $100 billion globally last year* and with the Olympics fast approaching, these women have harnessed the booming interest in health and wellbeing to establish innovative brands, programmes and communities focused on empowerment and inclusivity.

Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur curious about the landscape or an established founder looking to stay ahead of the curve, this session will leave you feeling inspired, informed and ready to take the next step.

*Statista, August 2023

On the day, you can expect to:

Gain valuable insights into the evolution of fitness entrepreneurship and innovations reshaping the health and wellbeing industryExplore emerging business models in health and fitness - from apps to in-person clubs to community-focused chainsDiscuss how businesses and individuals are supporting marginalised communities within the fitness industryAnalyse how fitness brands leverage social media, influencer marketing, and ecommerce to grow their audiencesUnderstand how fitness influencers build successful brands and e-commerce identitiesGet answers to your specific questions to propel you forward in your business journey.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Fashion Retail Reimagined


Online retail sales for textiles, clothing and footwear reached an unprecedented peak of 31% in 2020, as reported by UKFT, and in the UK alone the fashion and textile sector boasts a staggering 34,045 businesses. Now in 2023, the industry of fashion retail is witnessing the emergence of several exciting trends that are revolutionizing the shopping experience.

TikTok's live shopping experience, the growth of omni-channel retail, the increasing importance of second-hand fashion, supply chain innovations, and the rise of diversity and inclusivity are reshaping the fashion retail landscape. With these emerging trends, traditional brick-and-mortar shops have been reimagined, giving way to a new era of shopping experiences that seamlessly blend the physical and digital realms.

Our panel of five inspiring fashion experts and entrepreneurs will explore how these changes are influencing the industry and share valuable insights on leveraging these shifts to your advantage – leaving you inspired, informed, and ready to conquer the future of fashion retail.

Quotes: https://www.ukft.org/business-advice/industry-reports-and-stats. and Top Fashion Retail Trends of 2023: Innovations Shaping the Industry — Femestella.

On the day, expect to:

Discover the intersection of high-end fashion and sustainability that is reshaping the market through consumer-to-consumer shared economy modelsExplore the latest business models in fashion retail, from traditional high street to cutting-edge online platformsLearn about the world of pop-up shops, offering not only unique shopping experiences but also sales opportunities for start-upsDive into the thriving market of live shopping, from social media live videos to online shop ecommerce platformsUnderstand how small businesses are establishing successful retail and ecommerce identities to grow their brandLearn how the power of innovative concepts, combined with community support, can revolutionise shopping in key locations.

For those joining us in person, the event will be followed by a networking reception with drinks, canapés, meeting with other attendees, as well as the speakers. For those joining us online, the panel and talk will run from 18.30 – 20.30

This event is tailored to those who are just thinking about starting a business, are already a business owner who wants to learn more, or perhaps simply wish to establish a stronger network. Attendees will leave this event feeling inspired and engaged.

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: She's In CTRL by Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE


This event is taking place at the British Library and will be live streamed.

For those joining us in person, the event will be following by a networking reception with drinks, canapés, where you can meet other attendees, as well as the speakers. There will also be the opportunity to enter a prize draw.

For those joining us online, the panel and talk will run from 18.00 – 20.00.

The tech industry has a leading figure in Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon MBE, who is a dynamic advocate for women in STEM and a champion of STEM in education.

This special event shows how her latest book, She’s In CTRL, is a guidebook for women to take back tech and to shine a light on the women in STEM daring to dream. It will empower readers make changes to the way tech can be improved, but how to get into the room where the decisions are made and create our own tech rooms.

Join us for an inspirational evening with innovators within technology speaking on a panel about the important role of women and diversity in STEM sectors. This panel talk is followed by an enlightening fireside chat with Anne-Marie to discuss her new book and share the stories of other pioneers and innovators who have, against the odds, transformed technology.

Also up for discussion will be a range of topics that will help you to:
Understand the reality of starting as a female in the STEM industry and the challenges of getting started
Learn how women in the tech industry are creating their own seat at the table or ‘tech rooms’ and what steps they took to do this
Learn which aspects of STEM are mostly inspiring and recruiting women today
Learn about which innovations our panel have seen arise since the pandemic that were specifically that were created by women and why they think these have arisen
Hear about new trends within the industry that are evolving and the areas that still need more women involved
Understand the growth in interest in tech amongst women globally, including across Africa and Asia
Learn about the future of tech/STEM with the rise of AI, VR and 3D printing

Photo credit Sam and Sam Photography 2022

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: Gaming for Business


In a world driven by innovation and customer engagement, businesses are constantly seeking fresh approaches to captivate their audience and elevate their performance. As an industry that has always harnessed the power of technology, the recent growth of tools such as artificial intelligence and increased online connectivity have contributed to the growing influence the gaming industry is having on the business world.

From the creative minds behind engineering, designing and developing games, to the gamification of business tools for customer acquisition and marketing, the integration of gaming with the business world has reached new heights of significance and legitimacy.

As online technologies continue to evolve, their ever-growing influence on society – particularly on the next generation of entrepreneurs – has become undeniable.

Join a panel of gaming and design industry experts, as they explore how the fusion of game mechanics, psychology, cutting-edge design and technology can breathe new life into traditional industries, invigorating employee engagement, customer loyalty and overall business success.

On the day, guests and attendees can expect to join an engaging and thought-provoking panel discussion where they will:

Get into the spirit of gaming by joining us for a free gaming and chill session in the afternoon before the event. Gaming equipment including PlayStation 5’s, Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets and a variety of games to choose from will be available in the Knowledge Centre’s Eliot room from 14:00. Come along and get involved! All equipment will be provided by Bryght.Learn about the role that gaming is playing in today’s business landscapeGain a deeper understanding of the power of gaming influencers in marketing strategiesExplore the various business models within the gaming industryLearn about the platforms and resources connecting the gaming industry with the broader business realmUncover the strategies used by our panellists to navigate challenges in their workJoin discussions about the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the gaming world, and how these entrepreneurs actively engage with this.

Following this there will be a Q&A. For those joining us in person, the event will be followed by a networking reception with drinks meeting with other attendees, as well as the speakers.

For those joining us online, the event will run from 18.30 – 20.30

Inspiring Entrepreneurs: The Changing Face of Fashion


The fashion industry has always been subject to rapid change and fast-evolving trends and the last few years have been no exception.

Faced with major disruption during the COVID-19 pandemic, fashion offers many examples of innovation and exciting change in the face of difficult circumstances. Some of these changes stand to have a huge impact on the way we live our lives.

The current cost-of-living crisis is poised to shift attitudes once again, as some 48% of consumers say that rising prices are making them more aware of the importance of sustainable fashion and re-wearing their items.*

This year, the UK is set to become the first European nation where most clothing is bought online.** From this steep rise in online shopping to fashion shows powered by AI to a shift in attitudes to fast fashion, this is an exciting market to be a part of when you know its next direction.

This event will help you understand emergent trends in fashion and how to make them work for your business. At this event, you will:

Understand the reality of starting a fashion brand as an SME in today’s changing market and how the cost of living crisis is impacting brands’ supply chain, sales and growth
Learn how sustainability in the fashion industry has grown, changed and even evolved since 2020. What can we learn from manufacturers changing ways of working and sourcing in exchange for orders?
Understand why there is a greater need for transparency since the pandemic
Learn about new trends in fashion and how forecasting within the industry has been affected
Explore often unrecognised parts of the industry such as the rise of craft and how home-sewing has grown since the 2020 lockdown. Learn how to leverage the power of crafts to develop an online presence
Learn about the growth in interest in new fashion regions, such as the rise of African designers
Understand how the future of fashion with the rise of digital fashion or AI, VR and 3D printing.

About our panel:

You will hear from a panel of industry experts who will talk about their personal experiences and share their wealth of knowledge on the fashion industry and its future.

Orsola de Castro is an internationally recognised opinion leader in sustainable fashion, a mentor, curator and author. Her multi award-winning brand From Somewhere (1997 – 2014) was a pioneer in the field of upcycling and sold in some of the world’s best boutiques; her collaborations include collections for Tesco Clothing, Robe Di Kappa, Topshop and Speedo.

Priscillia Okpan is a Nigerian fashion designer and digital content creator based in London. After interning with established fashion brands to gather industry experience, she started her fashion YouTube channel, Kim Dave. She has amassed over 420k subscribers and 22 million views. She launched a ready-to-wear womenswear label in 2019 which celebrates her Nigerian roots.

Lora Nikolaeva (aka GENE) is the CEO and founder of Lora Gene, an accomplished fashion entrepreneur with international experience. Bulgarian born and raised, now based in London, she entered the fashion world to support her studies working as a model.

After several years on the road and across continents, she started a successful career as a make-up artist, founding the first make-up and hair agency in Eastern Europe. As the business grew it transformed into a clothing brand, which opened its first retail store in central Sofia in 2010. Lora Gene is recognised as one of the best sustainable and ethical fashion brands in the UK, with publications in Vogue, InStyle, The Stylist, the Independent, Guardian and many more.

Patrick McDowell is an independent, sustainable luxury brand founded in 2018 by designer Patrick McDowell. After graduating from the prestigious Central Saint Martins, McDowell has strived to reinvent the role of a fashion designer, as we know it today. Showcasing his debut collection at London Fashion Week in 2018, the designer has since captivated the industry whilst gaining the recognition of titans who share Patrick’s vision for redesigning and creating an accessible circular solution and system that creativity can flourish in.

Justin Duffy has worked in product design for 10+ years across highstreet (Next, River), sport (Puma), streetwear (Money Clothing) and outdoor categories (Rohan). Now working on the mindset team at WGSN – a trend forecasting company – Justin uses his understanding of the design process and a love for cutting edge creativity to explore new growth opportunities across fashion and lifestyle categories.


Fireside chat:

Patrick Grant has had a career in fashion spanning over a decade. In 2005, after leaving a career in Engineering, he took over as Director at Savile Row tailor Norton & Sons. In December 2010 he won the Menswear Designer of the Year award at the British Fashion Awards and in May 2015 he was awarded the BFC/ GQ Designer Menswear Fund for his work on menswear brand E. Tautz which he re-launched in 2009.

Frequently appearing in best dressed lists in the UK, he has been a regular fixture in GQ’s 50 Best Dressed Men and was also named in Esquire Magazine’s Most Stylish Men in the World. In 2016 he made the Business of Fashion 500 index of the most influential people in global fashion. Patrick is a regular on television and radio as a commentator on the British fashion, clothing and textile industries.

He has been a contributor to several major television documentaries including Savile Row, Harris Tweed, and The Perfect Suit, but is best known for his role in the popular BBC Series The Great British Sewing Bee, for which he was nominated for the 2017 National Television Awards.

He has written on diverse subjects for many titles including GQ, The Financial Times and The Times. His book ‘Original Man’ was published by Gestalten in 2014. He is a regular lecturer at schools and colleges across the UK.