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Entrepreneurial Winning Women

An executive education programme that supports women founders who have built profitable small companies


This October Ernst and Young (EY) announced their Entrepreneurial Winning Women class of 2019, an executive education programme which targets savvy women founders who have built profitable small companies, but who have not yet found the essential tools needed to expand sustainably. 

One of the women shortlisted for the programme is the managing director of Uptake Strategies, Stephanie Hall. Stephanie founded Uptake Strategies in 2005 with a vision to create a completely different kind of healthcare consultancy: a lean, agile, patient-centric consultancy, driving brand performance with measurable business impact and setting best practice standards in the industry.

Uptake Strategies is now a multi-award-winning, multimillion-pound consultancy with a team of over 30 people and a client base of the world’s top pharma and biotech companies.

Stephanie is a chartered management accountant and a chartered marketer with a degree in French and Italian, and has over 25 years’ experience in marketing, finance, sales roles and consultancy projects in multinational pharma/biotech companies and alliance partnerships.

Stephanie regularly lectures for the Chartered Institute of Marketing at postgraduate level, is a judging chair on the Pharmaceutical Market Europe Awards across categories including Innovation, Launch Excellence, Brand  Management, Multichannel Marketing and Patient- centricity (2013-2019). Stephanie also speaks regularly at industry conferences and is the author of the Pharma Brand Planners’ blog.

Stephanie gave an insight into the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme and shared her view on female leaders in pharma and biotech.

“I’m very proud to be part of an industry that is leading the way in diversity in the workplace; however, it is very evident that there are fewer women in senior leadership and boardroom roles, with women only representing 10% of board seats in the biotech industry.

"I want to set up young women for a strong and progressive career in the industry and open the doors to the many paths that can be taken in the pharmaceutical/ biotech industry.

"This year at Uptake Strategies, we launched our first Pharma and Biotech Academy hosting a group of talented undergraduates, Masters and PhD students from Oxford, Reading and Birmingham universities, along with guest speakers from GSK, Sanofi and Pfizer.

"The four-day masterclass covered a wide range of aspects of the pharma and biotech industry including: R&D processes, therapy areas, industry trends, key pharma/biotech customers, pharmaceutical strategy and planning, and use of multichannel marketing.

“We discussed a broad range of ideas and explored the opportunities that await graduates looking to delve into the world of pharma and biotech. We were truly impressed with the number of applications from female graduates who showed an interest in exploring a career in pharma and/ or biotech and we believe that these graduates have bright futures ahead of them in the pharma industry.

"Every day I see females forging their way through the industry and it is truly inspiring to think that Uptake Strategies is at the forefront of opening the doors to the pharma/biotech industry for the next generation of females looking to progress their career without limitation.

“At Uptake Strategies, we have grown our client base significantly, expanded our services, published industry research, expanded our team and won numerous healthcare and business awards.

"I am immensely proud of the successful independent company we have built and the opportunity to work with such professional and dedicated healthcare teams around the world, which is why I believe joining the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme will allow Uptake Strategies to continue along a strong path and drive our growth.


“Spanning 65 countries, the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme identifies successful women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale and provides them with the support, resources and access to help accelerate their growth.

"I am extremely proud to be selected for the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme as it will provide the support, resources and access to help accelerate our growth and embrace our ambitious growth plans. In particular, I am looking forward to utilising the programme’s ‘5 ways to win’ approach to scaling small companies into large ones:

  • Think big and be bold: Think ambitiously about your future business goals
  • Work on the business, rather than in it: Cultivate a strong team so you can look ahead and plot your path to growth
  • Establish key advisory networks: Establish relationships with other business leaders to secure advice and counsel
  • Build a public profile: Put your brand to work – speak publicly, write about what you know, share your story
  • Evaluate financing for expansion: Consider capital needs as you grow and align investor financing accordingly.

“Through embracing these steps many entrepreneurial women have successfully expanded their companies, hired more employees and ultimately built a better working world. Additionally, the programme offers access to vast resources and rich networks strengthening the ability of female entrepreneurs to become market leaders.

“Ultimately, the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme offers access to people and resources that were not readily available to me and my team at Uptake Strategies previously, while allowing me to work with inspirational female entrepreneurs from the UK.

"I am very much looking forward to exchanging skills and learning from the successful women in the class of 2019 in order to grow our team sustainably and successfully for the future.”

Due to the record number of very strong and high quality applications for the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women (EWW) Europe programme this year, a group of ten UK-based business leaders has been established in recognition of the outstanding candidates. In addition to Stephanie, they include:

  • Caroline Atkinson, Wargrave, In Cloud Solutions Limited
  • Catherine Bennett, Whitchurch, Caboodle Technology Limited
  • Nicola Chilman, Bath, EZ Education
  • Sarah Davis, Bedford, Skills4Stem Ltd
  • Merilee Karr, London, UnderTheDoormat
  • Kim Rihal, London, Equal Education
  • Sara Roberts, Edinburgh, Healthy Nibbles
  • Marielle Wyse, London, Wyse London
  • Breanna Yen, London, Curvestone.

Spanning 65 countries, the year-long worldwide Entrepreneurial Winning Women programme, now in its 11th year, is an executive education programme that targets savvy women founders who have built profitable small companies, but  who have not yet found the essential tools needed to expand sustainably.

It aims to expand their knowledge of leading business strategies and practices, and identify prospective sources for private capital, potential partners, customers and suppliers.

Participants have access to informal support and mentors from EY, are given support on strengthening their executive leadership and business skills, and providing guidance on identifying opportunities to grow while increasing their visibility through media/promotional opportunities and training.

The successful women demonstrated ambitious company growth goals and entrepreneurial purpose. They also hold a decision-making role in a business headquartered in the UK that has been running for at least two years with revenues higher than EUR 1m.

Joanna Santinon, UK&I Tax partner and Entrepreneur Of The Year UK partner sponsor at EY, said: “We’re truly inspired by this year’s uplift in the number of high-quality applications from women entrepreneurs in the UK actively seeking to take their businesses to the next level. These women have the potential to be a powerful economic force, paving the way for a greater presence of women-led businesses in the UK market.

“We recognise that access to successful role models and business-building networks is absolutely critical for entrepreneurs, especially female entrepreneurs, to accelerate growth. Through this programme we hope to progress and guide a number of the UK’s fastest growing businesses led by women, helping them to realise their full capabilities.”

Stephanie Hall is Managing Director and Lauren Pearson is Senior Account Executive, both of Uptake Strategies; Sonam Patel is Media Relations Manager at Ernst & Young LLP

By Stephanie Hall, Lauren Pearson and Sonam Patel

17th December 2019

By Stephanie Hall, Lauren Pearson and Sonam Patel

17th December 2019


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