Entrepreneur of the Year and Business in the Community entrant – Bianca Colclough and This Girl Consultancy Ltd
A recovering gambling addict, business strategist Bianca Colclough uses her own life experiences to inspire other women.
The 43-year-old mum-of-two is the founder of This Girl Consultancy Ltd which has helped establish 25 women-owned businesses and has directly impacted the lives of 1,500 women.
Bianca, from Stoke-on-Trent, launched This Girl in 2020 after working in recruitment for 20 years.
In July 2023 she opened headquarters in Newcastle-under-Lyme with the aim of creating a safe and purposeful space for professional women to work, network and socialise.
As of January 2024, 11 women have residency at This Girl and pay a fixed monthly fee to use the space. Bianca also offers a pay-as-you-go option to allow a hybrid working model for women seeking flexibility or for those who work from home but want to increase their social interactions.
Bianca said: “Amidst the lockdown and while pregnant with my first child I launched my business online. Fast forward to today the business is four years old, financially sound and boasts a recognisable brand with a social media following of 20,000, putting North Staffordshire on the map.
“Initially starting as an online networking event, This Girl Community has evolved into a thriving digital platform. With 86 active members and an average of 150 monthly guests, TGC now consists of various themed sessions, each hosted by experts in their respective fields, ranging from finance and marketing to neurodiversity, motherhood, nutrition and fitness, wellbeing and trauma.
“In the post-COVID landscape, I recognised the need for in-person interactions and launched This Girl Meets in January 2022. Initially starting with 12 attendees, the event rapidly gained traction, quickly welcoming 76 women. This proved that there was a clear gap in the market for women’s networking in Staffordshire and beyond.”
Bianca was among the first cohort of the Peter Coates MSc in Entrepreneurship and has used her story as a recovering gambling addict to inspire others. She’s now a board member of GambleAware, has become a Lived Experience Practitioner through Bet Know More and achieved Train the Trainer status.
She added: “There is a significant lack of support for women entrepreneurs who are looking to start up their own business. This Girl stands out by filling a crucial void, surpassing generic traditional business courses.”
Bianca has entered the Entrepreneur of the Year category of the Staffordshire University Business Awards and has entered This Girl into the Business in the Community category.