Before trying crowd-funding, Joni used her pension to fund the first WOTB festival and learnt how to use twitter to get over 700 women to attend.
Joni Farthing, the sixty three year-old founder and director of Women Outside The Box (WOTB) Women Outside The Box went live today on crowd-funding website Seedrs.com to try and raise the £60,000 she needs to take her festival of female entrepreneurship nationwide. Before trying crowd-funding, Joni used her pension to fund the first WOTB festival and learnt how to use twitter to get over 700 women to attend.
Please find Joni’s full story below, if you wish to speak to her about issues relating to female entrepreneurship, crowd-funding or Women Outside the Box itself then please contact Mel Beeby Clarke, Three C PR, T: 07557 142440 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Joni first realised the power of the crowd in the early 1970’s when she chaired the fourth International Women’s Conference. Many of the Spanish women in attendance, still under the Franco regime, were terrified that their pictures would end up in the paper. Much to her surprise, Joni found herself on stage in front of hundreds of women from across Europe leading the crowd in a debate on international media access to the event.
Fast forward several decades and now in her sixties, Joni is once again hoping to harness the power of the crowd. This time to help her make a success of another event involving females - the Women Outside The Box (WOTB) festival. A one day festival of female entrepreneurship which combines speakers, seminars, exhibition areas and networking, the event first ran in 2012 in Bristol and attracted over 700 women.
In order to get the funding she needs to run the event again in 2013 and take it national through a membership driven website, Joni is currently trying to raise £60,000 through crowd-funding on Seedrs.com.
No stranger to entrepreneurship herself or the juggling act of being a working mother, Joni set up her first business in the 1980’s when her daughter was young. A recruitment agency for nannies and au pairs, she built the business from ground up before selling it to a member of staff after three years. After a move to Oxford in the early 90’s she set up her second business, a language school for foreign students. Starting out from two rooms in her home, after rapid growth, Joni expanded into premises in central Oxford, achieving financial success and international recognition. The school was sold at the end of the ‘90s ahead of a family move overseas.
After living in the US and France for several years, Joni returned to the UK in 2009 looking for a new challenge. She worked for a women’s charity before moving to Bristol at the end of 2011 as Regional Director of Athena, a women’s networking group.
Finding herself unable to get out and meet people after injuring her leg in the move, Joni decided it was time to learn how to ‘tweet’. Whilst building up her new networking group she also ‘tweeted up’ a breakfast fundraiser in support of International Women’s Day. One hundred women turned up to the breakfast in March last year to help women victims of war to start businesses and reseed their communities.
Once again experiencing the power of the crowd, Joni realised the huge potential for a ‘mass’ networking event for professional women in the city. Investing the tax free portion of her pension to make it happen, six months later she was hosting her first Women Outside The Box festival at Bristol’s Harbourside with over 700 women in attendance.