Enterprise Nation Female Startup of the Year 2018: Ruth Bradford
On Friday 19th October, I was crowned Enterprise Nation Female Startup of the Year 2018!
It was a whirlwind of a day, one that saw it begin with an ambulance ride to the Bristol Royal Infirmary with our son Teddy who we had been up all night with as he became increasingly unwell.
He was diagnosed with pneumonia and after responding well to treatment he was moved to the observation ward. As he slept my husband and I decided that he was doing well enough for me to head to the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs for the finals of the competition. I made it there an hour before I was due to go on to pitch, very sleep deprived, nervous, but mainly pre-occupied with how Teddy was doing back at the hospital.
The other 3 finalists were so lovely and I was greeted by big hugs and concern. They all pitched really strongly, sharing their journey with the judges and the 250 strong audience, which was no mean feat.
I was third on and all of the preparation seemed to pay off. I got through the pitch and the questions in one piece, no major fumbles and no embarrassment. In fact, under the circumstances I was pleased with how I had coped, especially as this was SO far out of my comfort zone I'd need a taxi to get me back again.
When I heard my name called...I wasn't sure what to say or do! It seemed so unlikely considering the way the day had gone, I didn't believe it. But it was true, I had managed to pull it off and I was named Female Startup of the Year 2018. I was humbled to hear that the judges decision was unanimous and that they felt my journey so far really summed up the entrepreneurial spirit and determination the competition is all about.
I was so overwhelmed with the kindness, the support and the well wishes from the audience as many came to congratulate me. I think being on home turf in Bristol definitely helped steady the nerves and knowing there were some friendly faces in the crowd willing me on made a huge difference.
Now it's beginning to sink in a little, I am so proud of what I've achieved in such a small space of time - whilst raising a baby and moving home from the other side of the world! And of course proud I managed to not only get up on that stage but also do my self and my business justice during the pitch. If you had told me this time last year I would be able to do that...I would have been cowering in the corner. I have been shocked at how much confidence I had lost in myself and my ability since becoming a mum, stepping out of the employment game. It's been a big year of trying to push myself, step out of that mindset and just say 'yes' to as much as possible.
I know that this will be the first leap on a much longer road to becoming more confident and I am so grateful to have an amazing support network around me willing me on to go from strength to strength. I am thrilled to have got this far, and for all of the wonderful people who I have already met along to way. Having the business has certainly opened doors for me and has been a fantastic way to build new friendships since I arrived in Bristol.
The one decision I will always be glad I made so early on is to join Enterprise Nation. To be amongst like minded small businesses, to have opportunities, a network, events and meet ups has really helped me grow and learn. It's very much a community where the more you put in the more you get out and I find the energy and enthusiasm by the team and the members gives me such a massive boost. When you work completely on your own, it can be really lonely so I love knowing the community is there as and when I need them.
I'd like to dedicate this one to all the amazing mums out there who are doing their thing each and every day.
Photo credits Enterprise Nation