#Proud2support: CCLEF – New Name, New Look, Same Dedication and Committment

London, June 2016. The CCLEF – Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund has changed its name to the Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF).

CGEF website page

Set up as a charity in 1967, the charity celebrates 50 years of commitment and dedication to girls’ education throughout 2017.

The charity believes that when we educate a girl, we can help change a community. It costs around £500 to educate a girl for a year.

During 2015/16, the charity sponsored 382 capable girls through secondary schools in 30 Commonwealth countries, empowering and enabling them to become agents of positive change in their own communities and beyond.

With the new name and refreshed website www.cgefund.org, the trustees hope that people are inspired by their work, and support them through their events, activities, sponsorships or donations to provide the basic right of education to many more Commonwealth Girls over the next 50 years.



#Proud2Support CCLEF Fundraising Annual Valentine’s Gala Dinner

CCLEF logoCCL Gala Dinner 2016On Friday 12 February 2016, Noreen Cesareo, Principal at Market Accents,  was invited to attend the Commonwealth Countries League Annual Valentine’s Gala Dinner as a guest of CCLEF Hon Treasurer Ms Judith Fisher. The dinner was held at the Princess Alexandra Hall at the Royal Overseas League Club in St. James’s Street, London. The evening included singing and bollywood dancing as well as a raffle draw which was drawn by Ms Cesareo.

The Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF) is a charity which runs a secondary education sponsorship scheme for girls. Market Accents is a proud Ambassador and supporter of the charity and has assisted with marketing and communications, including the Splendours of the Commonwealth events, since 2013. CCLEF prizes 16

Market Accents supported the fundraising on the night by donating a  bottle of champagne and fine chocolates for the raffle.


London October 2015. The second International Female Quotient (#FQ2) Conference took place on Wednesday October 28 at The Shard in London, in the Warwick Business School venue. The conference highlighted key research findings on women’s enterprise and launched an exciting ten-point plan and deployment framework that underpins the development of the first UK Economic Blueprint for Women.

The conference was organised by Pink Shoe Foundation (Pink Shoe) in collaboration with the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC), the UK’s leading independent Research Centre on SMEs and enterprise. It is the second Female Quotient conference organised by Pink Shoe and supports the growth of women-owned businesses in the UK. The first conference, held in October of last year, discussed the state of opportunities for women in business. A direct outcome was agreement by the conference delegates on the concept of a UK Economic Blueprint for Women and a strong partnership with Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) International.

WIPP International, who participated and presented in last year’s conference, were at the time looking outside the US to take their tested model to pilot in a country where it would make a difference. In the weeks following that first conference, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Pink Shoe Foundation and WIPP International in the US. Pink Shoe has since been confirmed as the delivery partner for the model which underpins the UK Economic Blueprint for Women.

As a result, and with the support of WIPP International, Pink Shoe has developed the framework for the UK Economic Blueprint to drive the growth of women-owned businesses. The Blueprint will help to create the conditions for women owned/led businesses to gain an equal share of business opportunities and contracts nationally and internationally. It is based on four principles: fair access to capital, markets, research and training (including mentoring and coaching).

This year’s conference launched the UK Economic Blueprint for Women, which is being driven by the Pink Shoe Senate. Speakers included the Rt Hon Alan Mak MP, Professor Stephen Roper, Director and Deputy Directors Professor Mark Hart and Katherine Hathaway, from the Enterprise Research Centre; Jennifer Bisceglie, President of WIPP International, and Baroness Burt of Solihull.

Jill Pay, Chair of the Pink Shoe Senate, updated on progress since the first FQ conference and described the ten point framework, covering the vision, mission and scope of the task force and work streams which have been set up to bring the Economic Blueprint to fruition over the next five years. ERC shared recent research findings about women-owned businesses in the UK, while two of the established work streams – access to capital and access to markets – were also presented. Confirmed delegates include women business owners, organisations that represent women business owners, influencers and policy makers.

The Minister of State for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, the Rt. Hon Anna Soubry MP, who briefly joined the conference during the networking reception said, “Earlier this week we announced new measures to eradicate gender pay inequality in the work place as part of the Government’s determination to extend opportunity to all. Although the gender pay gap is the lowest since records began, I still see too many examples of capable women losing out.

“In the 21st century, women-led businesses should get a fairer share of the market. That is why I welcome the development of the UK Economic Blueprint and the work of the Pink Shoe Foundation to give talented women a strong, influential voice.”
As Jill Pay commented, “This year’s conference is pivotal. It is Day One in Year One of our Economic Blueprint framework and we are now promoting our work streams to women-owned businesses everywhere in the UK. In the past year, we have established the work streams and set out their terms of reference. We are primarily working with nationally based organisations and networks of women-owned businesses, in order to reach the largest possible number of women-owned businesses.”

Helene Martin Gee continued, “The UK Economic Blueprint has set down a marker which will act as a strong beacon to female entrepreneurs and women owned businesses. The Blueprint has strong support from Ministers, MPs and Peers and via the All Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship and other leading All Party groups. We will use advocacy and influence to seek policy and economic solutions to improve opportunities for women led businesses and with the assistance of our international and UK partners and supporters, we are confident that we can achieve our goals.”

The Conference was sponsored by Addidi Wealth and supported by The Sourcing Team. Market Accents is proud to be part of the conference and to have assisted with communications.

Pink Shoe Foundation is an influential and innovative business network that works to positively impact life-long development of women. Its founder is Helene Martin Gee. Patrons are The Rt. Hon Theresa May MP and Tessa Sanderson CBE. The Pink Shoe Senate, which drives development and strategy, is chaired by Jill Pay. Established in 2007 in London, Pink Shoe creates initiatives across the UK to advance talented women at all levels. Members are an eclectic mix of high-ranking professionals encompassing Government, industry, academia, entrepreneurship, public service and third sectors. Its special focus on Entrepreneurship includes working in partnership with key Parliamentary groups to generate a range of vibrant and interactive events connecting prominent and emerging entrepreneurs, and young people of all backgrounds with Parliament. www.pinkshoeclub.com

WIPP International’s mission is to build powerful collaborative networks among leading, women-led organisations to leverage their joint power to negotiate for policy and economic solutions to enable women to achieve economic independence and participate fully in their country’s economic growth. For more information, please visit www.WIPPinternational.org.  WIPP in the US was founded in 2001. It now represents 4.7m women in business and has 78 partnering organisations. It is non-partisan and focuses with considerable success on advocacy for economic policies that impact the growth of women entrepreneurs.

The Enterprise Research Centre (ERC) was established in 2013 with a mission to answer the question ‘What drives SME Growth?’. It is a collaboration between 23 world class researchers from five University Business Schools: Warwick, Aston, Birmingham, Imperial College and Strathclyde. It is currently funded by BIS, Innovate UK, the British Bankers Association (on behalf of four major banks) and the Economic & Social Research Council. Its research covers six major themes – Entrepreneurial Ambition, Leadership & Management, Finance, Diversity, Export & Innovation and Business Demographics – and considers how these relate to the growth of SMEs. It also aims to be a ‘go to’ resource for data on small and medium size firms and their performance. ERC works with a wide range of partners and is collaborating with Pink Shoe to provide the evidence to stimulate the debate around women’s enterprise.

The UK Economic Blueprint for Women is being developed by the Pink Shoe in collaboration with key corporate partners and other organisations such as the Royal Society of Arts, WEConnect International, and the Enterprise Research Centre (ERC). It has strong support from Ministers, MPs and Peers, and via the All Party Parliamentary Group for Entrepreneurship and other leading All-Party groups.

Splendours of the Commonwealth celebrating the best of London’s film festivals at the May Fair Hotel on Monday 28 September 2015


Splendours of the Commonwealth celebrating the best of London’s film festivals at the May Fair Hotel on Monday 28 September 2015

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London, UK September 2015. The Splendours of the Commonwealth fundraising event is once again being hosted at the May Fair Hotel, the official host hotel for London’s film festivals, on Monday 28th September 2015. This year’s dramatic event takes place during the Autumn season of film festivals in London and headlines film, music and dance from countries around the Commonwealth.

The evening’s centrepiece is a 30 minute screening of a film featuring a CCLEF sponsored girl, “Nancy A One Girl Revolution”. Nancy Tomee, who has already been internationally recognised for her work by the UN and the Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation, has been successfully campaigning against Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in the Pokot Tribal area of Kenya. The film will be followed by a 20 minute expert panel Q & A which will be chaired by Bianca Jagger.*


Nancy Tomee speaking in Lomut in the Pokot Tribal area

Our expert panel includes Sara Nason, film maker; Professor Sara Chandler, Vice President of the Federation of European Bar Associations (FBE) and Dr Joanna Nurse, Head of Health and Education Commonwealth Secretariat.

This year’s glittering event is thought provoking and unforgettable. It includes a fund-raising prize draw and sale of artworks created by CCLEF girls and their friends, as well as colourful entertainment from musicians ACD-arts Ltd from Uganda, Garba365 dancers who will perform traditional North Indian folk dancing with a twist and Bollywood dancing with Jay Kumar and DanceAsia.

As in previous years, the event is being organised by trustees, supporting partners, friends and sponsors of the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF).  The guest list includes celebrities, members of the Diplomatic community of the Commonwealth, CCLEF sponsors and supporters, and senior influential women and men representing UK business, education and global women’s campaigns.

Judith Fisher, event organiser and CCLEF Hon. Treasurer said, “This is the third year the CCLEF is organising the fabulous Splendours of the Commonwealth charity event. We are fortunate to have had so much assistance from our sponsors, partners and supporters. We are hugely grateful to the May Fair Hotel owners for their generous sponsorship and support, and to Melt Chocolates for their sponsorship. Once again, we also have the invaluable help of the SOTC 2015 organising team. Such assistance has contributed immensely to make this happen and help this charity continue educating girls in Commonwealth Countries.”

She continued, “We would like to thank Sara Nason, Bianca Jagger, our presenter Lola Royle and our expert panel speakers, our organising team including Market Accents, Cypher Design and Shelley Stock Hutter and various supporting partners including Davy’s Wine Merchants and Wine Bars, The Sourcing Team Ltd, Usborne Publishing and Sunita Mukhi, our entertainers ACD-arts Ltd, Garba365, Jay Kumar and DanceAsia, BFI, the Commonwealth Secretariat, Ghana High Commission, The Diplomat, Share Radio and Wessex Design Associates Ltd.”

Tickets cost £50.00 and may be purchased from the website and CCLEF Trustees.  All monies raised on the evening will go directly to sponsor girls’ secondary education in parts of the Commonwealth where, without financial assistance, they would not be able to afford to go to school. www.splendoursofthecommonwealth.com.  

* Subject to no higher priority commitment arising in the UN.


About the Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF)

Registered Charity No 1048908



The Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF) is a secondary education sponsorship scheme for girls that has sponsored thousands of capable girls through secondary education since 1967. Today we are sponsoring over 400 girls in 30 low economy Commonwealth countries across the Pacific, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. Without our help, these girls would not otherwise receive an education and their lives would be very different indeed. Some of these girls will go on to university, others to training colleges: all should now have the ability to take greater control of their lives, increased knowledge, earning capacity and the opportunity to overcome poverty. Others have already reaped these rewards and are passing on the benefits to their families, communities and in some cases, their whole countries.

The Commonwealth Countries League Education Fund (CCLEF) was formed out of the suffrage movement in the 1920s and promotes the education of girls and young women. The Commonwealth Countries League (CCL) supports the work of the CCLEF with the help of the High Commissions in London through the annual Commonwealth Fair and other fundraising events.

Further information can be found on the website: www.cclef.org