creative daughter crashes startup bootcamp

by Susan Pringle

I’d like to introduce millie’s first guest author, my daughter and blogger at Pringles Ponderings

I always joke with my Mum that I’ll look after her when she’s “old and grey,” and pretend that I’ll be the one telling her to look both ways at traffic lights and to put a scarf on to “keep that neck nice and warm.” We joke that one day, the roles will be permanently reversed. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t- knowing my Mum she’ll do whatever the hell she wants anyway. But yesterday I understood how she felt when she held my hand and walked me into my first day of school, when she told me to take a deep breath before my first A-Level exam. But more importantly, I completely understood her conviction when she told me she believed I could do anything I put my mind to. Yesterday I did all those things; held her hand, told her to be calm, and had unshakeable faith in her.

To give you a bit more context; we were walking to BioCity in Nottingham, for the first afternoon on a business start up bootcamp programme called Next Business Generation, a bootcamp masterminded between BioCity, Accelerace and Nottingham City Council in conjunction with the Creative Quarter. It was the first time Mum would really put her business proposition out into the open, and the first time it would be vulnerable to being knocked about and pulled apart. Mum’s rather fabulous idea is a brand called ‘millie lingerie’ which will design post-surgical bras for women that have had Breast Cancer. Yes- the big C word. As you can imagine, not only was she a bit nervous about discussing millie with business experts, but also opening up the discussion as to why she’d decided to start this business. You may have guessed that it’s through her personal experience, and her own dissatisfaction with what the current market offers women who have had surgery.

As I’m on the board of directors for millie (and I am extremely important but unaware as to what my role is) and also my Mum’s right-hand woman, I went along to provide some support. She said she used to be so fearless going into new business environments, but these days not so much. So there I was, her own little ‘fearless drip,’ feeding her the confidence she needed to do millie justice. For me walking into that room it was just one big challenge. There were probably people sat there wondering what a teenager was doing in the room, hopefully there were others thinking “Good on you, kid.” And no, I don’t know what a margin is (apparently they’re not the blank spaces either side of a writing page, who knew?) and no, I don’t know how I would propose millie to investors. But in my opinion saying ‘Hello’ and wearing awesome shoes would be a decent start. Thankfully, I think this bootcamp is going to fill in the gaps.

The programme’s three months long. I’m not sure how many of the actual workshops I’ll go to, and how much I’ll learn second hand from Mum. From what I saw on that first afternoon, she’s in safe hands with Next Business Generation, and will also be fed incredibly well- the sandwiches on the lunch spread were top notch. I have no idea how far millie lingerie is going to go, I might be on the board of directors for wishful thinking. If that’s the case I apologise for wasting your time in reading this, but I think my Mum’s a bit special. I believe that she’ll succeed, and millie lingerie will be the answer to the question she asked herself two years ago in the M&S changing rooms.

Either way, I’ll be there holding her hand. Watch this space.

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