Capitalise quickly on Lionesses’ success, advises Dragon Deborah Meaden

‘It’s very similar to business actually, because there’s always a moment in business when it’s ripe, it’s ready,’ said the business expert.

07 August 2022

Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden said “the most important thing is to be quick off the mark” in capitalising on the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 success.

England’s Lionesses wrote an open letter to Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss demanding that all schoolgirls have access to a minimum of two hours a week of sport classes, in the week following their Wembley triumph.

Meanwhile wider discussion around the legacy of the team’s achievement has dominated since their 2-1 win against Germany.

“I guess the important thing is the legacy, how much is it going to change things?” Meaden told the PA news agency while attending the National Cat Awards, for which she was a judge.

England v Germany – UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 – Final – Wembley Stadium
England’s Leah Williamson and Millie Bright lift the trophy as England celebrate winning the UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 final at Wembley Stadium (Joe Giddens/PA)

“Because to have a record audience at Wembley… that tells us something. So now’s the moment to really build on it.

“It’s very similar to business actually, because there’s always a moment in business when it’s ripe, it’s ready.

“The most important thing is to be quick off the mark, to understand where those messages need to go and get them out there fast because we’re all busy, we all get really excited by stuff, and then something else comes along and we kind of move on.

“But this is the moment, capitalise on it really really quickly, and make sure this gets spoken about, remembered, and felt.

“We all felt something when the Lionesses won.

“So make sure that that feeling is taken into schools, is taken into business, is talked about at the water cooler.

“It doesn’t just disappear into something that was lovely, and turns into something that’s made a real difference in the future.”

All 23 members of the England women’s team called on the Tory leadership candidates to prioritise female football because “this generation of schoolgirls deserve more”.

The Euro 2022 winners warned that “women’s football has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go”.

Football is the most popular team sport for young people in England, but only a third of girls aged five to 18 participate each week, according to research by the Football Association (FA).

Just 63% of schools in England offer equal football coaching to boys and girls, the FA found.

Meaden praised Sarina Wiegman’s squad for the football they played, but also for their leadership skills.

“What I saw in the Lionesses is a fantastic team that would make superb modern leaders,” she said.

“The old leaders who sat at the head of an organisation would bark orders, would tell everybody what to do, that was so yesterday. That’s gone. That doesn’t work in the modern world.

“But collaborative people, confident people, people who absolutely know what they want to achieve, and they are going to achieve it?

“Now that’s real, future leadership.

“What I saw was modern leadership absolutely on display on that field.”

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