WOMEN are being encouraged to embrace challenges at an event aimed to support and inspire them in the world of business.

The Women in Business event was held as part of the Tendring4Growth week in Clacton.

It was organised by Tendring Council in partnership with Colbea, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting local businesses.

Delegates heard from a range of speakers about their experiences and mutual challenges of being a successful woman in business and at work.

Mary Newton, Tendring Council’s cabinet member for business and economic growth, shared her own experience.

“Back in the late 1960s I worked in the shipping industry and as a woman I was told I couldn’t work in sales,” she said.

“So, I left to work for a scaffolding company who took me on in a sales position.

“I was the only woman in a group of 20 new trainees. I wasn’t prepared to settle for roles that I was told were suitable for me, as a woman.

“My advice for women is to stand up for what you feel is right, don’t take no for an answer and keep knocking at that door – I was soon taken back to be the first woman in a deep sea liner shipping firm.

“As portfolio holder for regeneration, I take the responsibility to ensure diversity in work very seriously and the council is committed to ensure everyone has an equal chance to make a success in business and at work.”

Ashleigh Seymour-Rutherford, chief executive of Colbea, said: “Our funded and low-cost training courses and workshops align with the local agenda of driving economic growth.

“We are inviting women to connect with us and access our expertise and support.

“Our personal one-to-one approach has been critical in supporting people.

“We are here to guide you through the process - whether you want to find out about loans, business plans, to start out in business or to grow.”

Guest speaker and director of Mad-HR, Charlotte Bate, said the event provided networking opportunities, advice to encourage women to be confident in business and at work.

To find out more, go to colbea.co.uk.