Birmingham Based Female-Run Car Dealership Wins Exclusive Mentoring Session With Baroness Karren Brady Cbe 

  • Wink Cars beat over 1,000 other small business owners to receive a mentoring session with Baroness Karren Brady CBE
  • A new survey of 900 women reveals that four in five self-employed women (81%) say they’ve experienced sexism, gender inequality or unequal access to opportunities whilst running their businesses
  •  92% of women surveyed believe the government should be doing more to support with childcare, government-sponsored funding, and access to mentoring

6th June 2023, London: Wink Cars, a female-run car dealership based in Birmingham, has won a national competition beating over 1,000 other female business owners to receive a one-to-one mentoring session with Baroness Karren Brady CBE.

The competition is part of The Empowering Women in Business initiative launched by Simply Business, one of the UK’s leading small business insurance providers, to help women entrepreneurs overcome the challenges they are facing in business. 

The British business executive and BBC’s The Apprentice star will get to grips with the business and offer practical solutions and her expert guidance for the car dealership company. 

It comes after a recent Simply Business survey of over 900 women small business owners from across the UK, revealed less than a third of small businesses in the UK are owned by women. Of which, an alarming 81% have experienced sexism, gender inequality or unequal access to opportunities whilst running their own business*. The majority (92%) of those surveyed believe the government should be doing more, with childcare support, government-sponsored funding, and access to mentoring and networking called out as areas for desperate improvement.

Wink Cars was founded in 2021 by best friends, Jo Smith and Jodie Barber, who met playing football together at Darlaston Town FC. Jo had already built up seven years’ of experience in the car trade working in family and big commercial dealerships, whilst Jodie gained her business insight as a self-employed beauty practitioner.

After identifying a nation-wide gap in the market for a female-owned dealership, the duo used the Covid-19 pandemic opportunity to start afresh and pooled together savings to found the business – working full-time in their original jobs for the first 18 months as the venture gathered pace.

Over the past two years, Jo and Jodie have transformed Wink Cars from selling cars on family’s drives to selling motors from a leased commercial property, which opened in early 2023. The business is fully focused on its next stage of growth and sees the mentoring session with Baroness Brady as a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Jodie Barber, co-founder of Wink Cars commended: “We have a huge amount of respect for Baroness Karren Brady CBE and admire her resilience and thick skin, something we feel we share. Hard work can get you far, but sometimes you need a little bit of luck – winning this mentorship session from Simply Business is the luck we needed. We listen to business podcasts and other people in business, and that’s useful, but being able to directly ask questions for our own niche problems to someone with a great deal of knowledge, experience and advice, is priceless. We want to organise a clear structure for the business and put a clear process in place. And while we are big believers in learning from mistakes, avoiding them would also be great. Baroness Brady is perfectly placed to help with all that.”

Baroness Karren Brady CBE, Small Business Ambassador for Simply Business, comments

“Simply Business is a brand that has a track record of supporting women entrepreneurship, a value that I have prioritised throughout my career. That’s why I’m delighted to partner with Simply Business to support small business owners, across the whole sector, at a vital time, starting with the one-on-one mentoring session with Wink Cars. I’ve been inspired by Jo and Jodie’s journey in business so far and look forward to working with them to iron out the challenges they might be currently facing. The economy needs the support of small businesses in the UK and we must inspire women in business, and help abolish the challenges they face daily.”

Simply Business runs regular initiatives to show support for the small businesses in the UK. The company will launch its fourth annual Business Boost grant later this year – giving a small business owner £25,000 to help start or grow their business in the face of current economic challenges. 

Bea Montoya, Chief Operating Officer at Simply Business, commented“At Simply Business we’re proud to support hundreds of thousands of women who own flourishing small businesses across the UK. By partnering with Baroness Karren Brady CBE – a hugely admired businesswoman – we’re looking to surface these challenges in order to drive positive change. Small businesses are so crucial to the UK’s economy and communities, and we want to inspire countless creative, resourceful women entrepreneurs across the country to follow their business dreams. We’re delighted to offer Jodie and Jo of Wink Cars the opportunity to receive an exclusive, one-on-one mentoring session with Baroness Brady, as well as granting many others the opportunity to join an exclusive Q&A webinar with her later in the year.”

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