BUSINESSWOMEN in Hampshire joined forces to create £1million in turnover in a month.

More than 80 female entrepreneurs took part in the Spectacular Challenge to £1million, which was launched by business coach Trudy Simmons as a way to encourage business people to stay positive in the latest lockdown.

The event, from January 5 to February 5, saw businesses from accountants to craft suppliers and social media consultants reach a total turnover of £1,056,895.

Trudy Simmons said: “We know that January can be a slow month for some businesses but as we went into another lockdown, I wanted to help people feel motivated and start the year in a place of success rather than uncertainty.

“I’ve been so proud of how the various businesses have risen to this challenge and we are pleased that collective £1m will be circulating back into their businesses and the local economy.”

Many business owners reported making more this year than in previous Januaries.

Jude Wharton, from Southampton, runs web design company Ready Steady Websites. She said: “This challenge has kept me much more focused than I would have been without it. Being back in lockdown and home schooling, it would have been very easy to take the easiest route this month but being part of this and knowing that I needed to pull my weight to achieve our collective goal has kept me focused and driven and we will end up earning more this month than we did in January last year which is fantastic.”

Emily Laflin, owner of Viva Support, a virtual human resource service in Romsey, said: “I started this year facing huge challenges with unpaid invoices and no motivation to chase them or find new business. At one point I nearly threw the towel in and gave up, but this challenge has given me the boost to carry on even when I really didn’t feel like it.

“As a result, all my outstanding invoices are paid and my outlook on 2021 is completely different.”

Trudy Simmons, based in Winchester, also runs the Hampshire Women’s Business Facebook Group.

“The coronavirus has affected us all – people have lost their incomes, businesses have had to close, or people have been furloughed. The uncertainty has been hard on everyone,” she said.

“However, I believe that this is also an opportunity for so many people to start their own venture or try the career they’ve always wanted to pursue. There are opportunities to retrain and develop new skills to allow our professional selves to flourish. The Spectacular Challenge to £1 million was designed to help kickstart 2021 on a positive step, especially as another lockdown had just started and I am so pleased, our group rose to the challenge.”