Awarded an MBE in the 2023 New Years Honours List for services to female entrepreneurship, Alison Cork has been a role model and champion for women in enterprise for over 35 years.
Since floating a publishing and mail order business in 1994, making her the youngest female founder of a public company, Alison then founded the Alison at Home interiors brand, which now encompasses online retail, TV Shopping and licensing in the UK and United States.
Author of five books on business, property and home, one of which was voted Book of the Month by Mensa, Alison has been a prolific columnist in national press, and has written and presented a number of TV series and radio shows on home and business.
She is also a fitness and sports enthusiast, recently climbing the highest mountain in Morocco and trekking to Everest base camp.
Often asked to speak about motivation and entrepreneurship, Alison quoted the lack of female role models when she started out in the 80s that made her want to be part of the change that enabled women of today to consider entrepreneurship as their birthright and a natural choice.
Subsequently she founded and funded the not for profit organisation Make It Your Business, which supports and encourages women to start their own business, and which has seen thousands of women (and three Prime Ministers) attend its networking and online training sessions, which are free to attend.
Also an ambassador for the British Library Business and IP Centre Network, which supports start ups and scale ups, 66 per cent of which are female led, Alison continues to help women UK wide of all ages achieve their economic potential and independence.
“Whilst we have come a long way, the fact that only one in four businesses is owned or led by a woman is a clear indication that there is more to do. Until we properly address the barriers to entry and unlock the opportunities for women to be self-employed, not only do they suffer, but so does the economy at large. My mission remains to help women achieve the parity they deserve, and we have exciting ideas for 2023 and beyond. I am extremely touched and grateful to be awarded an MBE for services to female entrepreneurship and shall be leveraging this great honour to highlight and improve further the position of women in the economy.”