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Passion, creativity and thick skin – essential ingredients for entrepreneurs

Last night we held our inaugural alumnae networking event, where our panellists agreed that passion, creativity, thick skin – and knowing when to ask for help – are some of the essential traits required to succeed as an entrepreneur.

We were delighted to welcome five alumnae back to South Hampstead to share the successes and setbacks they encountered while setting up their own businesses.

Victoria Jossel (class of 2000) spoke about how she started Lola’s Cupcakes as a home-baking business with a friend, taking orders in their bedrooms and baking in their parents’ kitchens. The business quickly grew in only a few years to one of the most recognised cupcake brands in the world with concessions in the Selfridges and Harrods foodhalls.

Fiona Lowry (class of 1983) spoke about her experiences of setting up and then selling two successful businesses. She is currently the founder and CEO of her third business, The Good Care Group, which was recently listed in The Times Top 100 Fast Track Companies in the UK.

Alison Naftalin (class of 1997) shared her experiences of establishing the charity Lively Minds ten years ago in her spare time. It has now grown into an award-winning programme, working to improve childhood care and education in rural Ghana and Uganda.

Lindsey Noakes (class of 2008) runs Gather, a non-profit bringing people and data together to solve the urban sanitation crisis in the developing world. In 2018, Lindsey was listed as one of Forbes’ 30 under 30 Social Entrepreneurs, was nominated for the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and MIT’s 35 Innovators under 35 Award.

Jessica Tucker Egerton (class of 2004) founded Urban Food Fest after qualifying as a solicitor. Her business has become famous for its street food markets across the UK and was voted Time Out’s number 1 event.

The panel event was chaired by GDST CEO Cheryl Gionvannoni and was followed by a drinks and canapé reception where South Hampstead and other GDST alumnae were able to network and share their expertise.

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