On June 4th we held the third of our events for Entrepreneur Academe, the mentoring programme for women-founded businesses we’re running in partnership with the City of London. Once again we were at Guildhall, this time in the lovely space that is the City Marketing Suite – complete with its famous scale model of the City – because this was a special evening: the official launch of this year’s EA.

We were delighted to have the evening opened by our good friend at Angel Academe, Audrey Klein. Audrey is an entrepreneur, angel investor and the Managing Director of Blackstone, the investment and advisory firm. Audrey talked through her personal journey from entrepreneur to investor with remarkable candour, talking about some of the pitfalls along the way, as well as about the real pleasures it can bring.

We were then delighted to hear from the Lord Mayor, Alderman Fiona Woolf, only the second female Lord Mayor in the City’s near-millennium-long history. She officially launched EA 2014-15 and gave us her insights into why it’s important to the City. Fiona is clearly passionate about the role of women in business – a major theme of her year in office – and this came out in particular in a spirited Q&A session, in which she also discussed her charitable work with Raleigh International, an organisation that fosters sustainable development internationally, with a focus on youth. (You might also want to know that she is abseiling down the Lloyd’s Building in September, along with Inga Beale, the first woman to be CEO of Lloyd’s! They are of course doing it for charity; here’s their Just Giving page.)

Our entrepreneurs (click here for the lineup) then took the stage, each giving a three minute presentation about their business, their journey to this point and their hopes for the year. We’ve watched these pitches develop over the last three months, and it’s fascinating to see how they’ve changed as a response to the feedback and questioning at our previous events. And this was something of a high stakes moment: the presentations were given to a packed room of invited guests, including senior officers from the City, angel investors, mentors and fellow entrepreneurs.

And yes, of course, we rounded off the evening with networking over drinks; this is meant to be fun as well!

So well done to all the entrepreneurs for getting to this point, and many thanks to Audrey and Fiona for taking time out of their hectic schedules to make it such a special evening for us.