Thanet business ‘buddy’ Karen aims to boost support for female founders

Karen plans to continue supporting Thanet businesses

Thanet business  advisor entrepreneur Karen Brinkman is inviting women traders to join a new group dedicated to the isle’s female founders.

Karen, from Westbrook, has been working as an advisor with Social Enterprise Kent CIC but as her contract draws to a close, she plans to go out on her own and connect even more Thanet businesses.

As part of that plan Karen has launched the Thanet Female Founders group with the aim of sharing experiences and building a supportive community.

She said:  “I’d love as many Thanet business women to know about it as possible.

“Having worked with Thanet SMEs (small and medium enterprises) for the last 12 months it’s shown me how lonely being a sole trader or small business can be.

“I hope this group with help connect people to help make them more resilient and proud of what they do.

“Small businesses and sole traders often have no-one to bounce ideas off or to motivate them. So the group is doing things like sharing ‘Wednesday Wins’ and hopefully that encourages someone else in the background to get involved.

“I want it to be inclusive, so it doesn’t matter how small you are, whether you are a table top business, it is for everyone.”

Karen says the aim is to moved away from traditional networking events where some people may not feel they fit in to more ‘themed’ meet ups and events such as exploring how making business videos.

She added: “I’m going freelance and carrying on what I had been doing with the council before the funding finished.

“The funding might have ended but the need is still out there so I am going to become Thanet’s business buddy, connecting people, facilitating events, helping them promote themselves, helping with motivation and looking at opportunities.”

Karen launched her first Thanet business connecting group during the pandemic. She was on furlough from her previous job when she decided to set up Thanet Virtual High Street to give businesses a platform to shout about the things they were doing and for members to see what was on offer locally.

The idea was an instant hit and now boasts thousands of members with small businesses taking the opportunity to share their goods and services.

The group, promoting everything from art galleries to bakers and IT to beauty, also expanded to create a Thanet Virtual Wedding Fair group.

Initially helping small businesses to trade through the covid lockdown TVHS then made the move into face to face events when the restrictions were lifted.

That group earned Karen prizes at this year’s Kent Women in Business Community Awards.

Find Thanet Female Founders group on facebook here


  1. What’s wrong with starting a business group for everybody? Why does it have to be ‘sans penis’ yet again? Why is this woman creating yet more division in our community? What is so wrong with being all inclusive instead of all divisive?

  2. Alex Peters’ and Peter Checksfield’s comments here – not only on this thread- show ,to some extent, why women-only groups are necessary and popular.

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