Some of you may be aware, we recently attended the Business Women Excellence Awards for Sussex as Bridgit was shortlisted for two awards; ‘Business Woman of The Year’ and the ‘Woman In Education’ award, both nominations took Bridgit completely by surprise and she was overwhelmed to be shortlisted.
The evening was wonderful to be a part of and full of so many inspirational women, all with their own story to tell. Whilst Bridigit didn’t win the awards this time around, to be shortlisted alone is incredible. These weren’t awards just championing those within the Early Years or even Education sectors, but these awards were solely championing women across all sectors for their incredible achievements in business and so that makes Bridgit’s shortlisting even more impressive.
In a time of uncertainty and stress for so many within the Early Years Sector, it is truly refreshing to see Bridgit’s hard-work, determination and commitment to Early Years education recognised by something as poignant as these awards. Home-based childcare providers in particular are feeling the strain of the Government’s 30 hour funding initiative and so many childminders are leaving the profession as a result. However, Bridgit is determined not to let these setbacks falter her spirit and passion for Early Years and this is truly admirable.
We’ve mentioned before how Bridgit’s main aim when establishing Pebbles Childcare was to be an advocate of homebased childcare and raise the profile of childminding as a viable childcare option. I’m sure you’ll all agree that Bridgit has done exactly that and the environment that she created truly has flourished and developed beyond anything Bridgit could ever imagine and the relationships and partnerships we have established as a setting with children, parents and other professionals is testament to Bridgit’s passion and love for what she does.
It is essential that we recognise Bridgit for the wonderful Early Years professional she is, but we must also take this opportunity to recognise her (as the judges of these recent awards did) as a strong and determined business woman. For many, childcare is a job that many of us will work within in some way at some point in our careers, but for Bridgit; she took a job a she loved and made it into a business.
A thriving, sought-after and well-respected business, and that is something as her colleague and friend I am exceptionally proud of her for. Setting up your own business is hard, and statistics show that many independent businesses close or fold financially within their first year of operation; Bridgit was determined to make her home-based childcare business a success and did everything in her power to ensure she didn’t become a statistic.
(Featured Image and this photo are courtesy of PACEY. )
The business world is a tough, dog-eat-dog environment, no matter how small or large it is (and particularly if you are a woman) and it can be incredibly stressful to run and maintain, however Bridgit does so with grace. Since opening Pebbles Childcare, Bridgit has consistently made well-thought out decisions to enhance and develop the business (taking on an assistant to meet the high demand, making physical changes to her home in order to accommodate the needs of the children, launching different initiatives) and that’s what made her such a worthy contender for such an amazing award, and whilst she may not have left with an award, we can all be left with feelings of admiration for what Bridgit has achieved in these past 2 years, both as a childminder and a business woman.
The awards night itself was full of inspiring, passionate and powerful women and I am proud to have attended alongside Bridgit and another incredible woman; Victoria Rose-Carless of Baby Massage Sussex (herself shortlisted for two awards on the night too). Events like these are paramount to empowering our young people, particularly young girls who want to make changes and stand up and be counted in a sector full of hardworking and powerful men; these awards shine a light on the females that have the potential to change the dynamics of the working world and bring about the equality and recognition that us as women are so desperate to see.
Bridgit is a wonderful example of a powerful business woman and educator who demonstrates that it is never too late to make a change and follow your heart and make a business out of doing something you love so passionately; and what a wonderful role model she is to not only other professionals within the sector, but to the children we care for each day.
“Here’s to strong women; may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.”
If you are looking to move into home-based childcare, register as a childminder and start your own business working from home, take a look at PACEY’s “Business Smart” toolkit for advice and ideas from like-minded childminder’s and business women on how to do so effectively.
(Photo Courtesy of PACEY).