Meet the nominees: Jodie Cole

Meet the nominees: Jodie Cole
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Celebrating the success, talent and achievements of women from the region, the West Midlands Women of the Year Awards 2013 takes place at Hotel La Tour on 28th November. We want to take this opportunity to introduce you to our nominees and shortlisted for Outstanding Contribution to Technology: Jodie Cole

Jodie Cole is MD of JC Social Media, a Birmingham-based specialist social media agency. Jodie set up JC Social Media in 2011 when she was 22, and has since grown it to a team of 6, and worked with some large and varied clients. Jodie was selected to be an ambassador for Start Up Loans, as an example of someone who started their business on less than £1000. Since then she has mentored at events such as Start Up Weekend and U Plus Project, and spoken in front of audiences including the University of Birmingham, AAT, the Federation of Small Businesses, to name but a few. She also recently co-founded Clever Tykes, a series of children’s books that introduce children to positive entrepreneurial role models. Jodie is passionate about helping start-ups, exercise, great steak, and Birmingham!

What inspired you to start your business?

I have always been surrounded by people with their own companies, so the question for me wasn’t “shall I start my own company?” it was “which company shall I start?” During university I wrote down all my business ideas in a big notepad, with business plans, revenue streams, feasibility notes, and everything else. There were a few that I was considering, but I felt that my skillset fitted in with social media marketing the best. It combines creativity with writing and talking to people – perfect!

If you could some up what you do in one sentence what would that be?

I help a wide range of companies to use social media to generate sales and leads, either by training them, doing it for them, or through our online Twitter training course ‘Tweet to the Top’.

What would you like to achieve over the next 12 months?

I would like to continue to grow the business, by expanding our client base and growing the team with more brilliant account managers. I want to expand my networks to meet more inspirational people that I can learn from. Recently I have been doing lots of talks at universities and schools, both about social media and about starting up my own business, so I would like to do more of these in front of bigger and bigger audiences. I recently got engaged so I’m sure there will be a wedding in there somewhere, too!

Who have been your female role models and why?

A friend of mine; Carrie Green who set up the Female Entrepreneur Association. She’s the first to admit that she has encountered challenges and difficulties along her way, but I really admire how she uses these to help other women on their business journey. Now she has a huge network of female entrepreneurs (and probably male ones too) who follow her guidance and tools and have transformed their businesses as a result.

What are some of the challenges/obstacles you have faced over the past 12 months  - if any?

Starting a business in a recession has to be the biggest one! Apart from that I’ve often felt rushed off my feet with so many things to do, so have made sure I put processes in place so that everything is completed to the standard I expect. Often this comes down to trusting people, so I’m very pleased that I have a great team that I can rely on.

Is there anything you are currently working on that you would like to share with our readers?

Recently I have set up Child Safety Online, a collection of short videos that help parents to understand the safety and security issues prevalent within social media. Through being immersed in social media we realised that it can be a security minefield if not handled correctly, especially for kids. We spoke to a lot of parents who had many concerns, so set up the site to address these concerns, and share the case studies that we have collected.

I have also co-founded Clever Tykes, a series of children’s storybooks designed to introduce children to positive entrepreneurial role models. Through extensive research we found that if a child does not have a parent who has started their own company, they are much less likely to consider it an option for their own career. We want to change this pattern through literature and positive entrepreneurial role models.

How did you feel when you found out you had been nominated for an award?

I felt wonderful! Justice Williams of ‘City& Style’ is someone I see as hugely inspirational, so I am honoured to be nominated in her awards. I feel very strongly about the need to champion the talented businesswomen of the West Midlands to encourage even more to set up here. Having awards that recognise the achievements currently taking place will help put the West Midlands on the map as a place where great things happen, and I’m very pleased to be a part of it!

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