Women in business initiatives, networks and groups have a real presence now in the UK. A Google search or peruse through the directory over at ‘WeAreTheCity’ highlights the variety of networks women can join to meet new people and access useful resources. 2016 has ushered in a number of investment focused platforms designed to equalize access to funding for women led start-ups.

With so many women focused networks in existence, some have begun to question their usefulness. One of the most common questions I am asked is – Why is this network for women only? I thought I would take this opportunity to share why Female Foodpreneur Collective exists and its importance.

Why Female Foodpreneur Collective?

Tweet: It was time to create a stylish and thoughtful platform on which to share the voices of women in food.

Current media coverage of women as related to the food and drink industry tends to be narrow in its perspective. The most common articles that can be found online focus on the ‘lack of female head chefs’ in professional kitchens across the globe or are ‘Top 10’ type pieces which list different female chefs from around the world. In my view, these articles do not highlight the diversity of roles held within the food and drink industry by women – such as butcher, farmer, food scientist, food engineer, brewer – and the list really does go on.

I have personally spoken to c.250 women over the last six months about their lives, careers, businesses and experiences in the food and drink industry. These conversations have been enlightening, fascinating and inspiring. But where can their stories be found? Some of the most interesting pieces on the contribution women make to the industry are on government backed websites or scattered under different categories on various websites. It was time to create a stylish and thoughtful platform on which to tell these stories.

Female Foodpreneur is deliberately gender specific. There are plenty of networking groups in the UK, but there still remains a need for a network which enables women to overcome certain challenges or milestones unique to the food and drink industry. One that brings together women working in corporate hospitality, food start ups, food design and production, styling and photography to name a few. I have personally connected women from different parts of the industry when I can see there is a clear synergy and potential for collaboration. These types of connections enable a business or career to experience real growth.

Since its inception, the collective has grown in size and strength. We have business leaders from every corner of the industry contributing their experience and skills from marketers, designers, scientists, brewers, nutritionists to food communities and educators. Also many industry events are London based. This is one of the reasons the hub is based online, and provides on demand access to resources and tools regardless of member location. Our special monthly events will also be held across the UK and led by Female Foodpreneur ambassadors.

Are our male peers allowed to join us?

Of course! Although this is a network designed to serve the needs of women in the industry, our male peers will often be among those who are sharing resources, tools and experiences via the podcast show, online content and at events. The network is not designed to ignore or dismiss the knowledge and skills our male peers may have to share or lament over discrimination some women may or may not face in the industry. Rather the intention and impact is to actively celebrate, connect and inspire women in the industry. When attending a Female Foodpreneur event, you can expect to walk into a room filled with peers who know and understand the food and drink industry and want to make meaningful connections.

How can I get involved?

1.Subscribe to our weekly newsletter. Every week we will share a variety of resources, tools and information about what’s happening globally for women in food.
2.Attend our monthly events. We have planned specific monthly webinars and events based on the needs and interests of the community. These events will be attended by dynamic speakers and contributors.
3. Next year you can become a full member of the Female Foodpreneur Collective when we launch our membership! More information on the benefits and features will be shared in our newsletter shortly.
This really is a movement and we are fast growing. So share us with your colleagues, peers and teams. The more connected we become the more impactful we can be. Socialise us with us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@fem_foodpreneur).

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