February 27th 2020
The “enthusiasm and passion” of builder Christina Valentine won over the panel and audience at last night’s first ‘developer pitch’ at the Building Society, in central London.
Christina, daughter of a builder, works in construction refurbishing properties, but also runs courses for women on all aspects of the building trade. However she admits she has ‘no clue’ on how to launch and run a business.
She told the panel and the 100-strong audience she was looking for “the equivalent of a Dragon (from Dragon’s Den) – someone who has the business acumen I don’t have to bring this project to life”.
“I’m a woman of the tools … a tradeswoman, and that makes me rare because even in this day and age, in 2020, literally 2% of people in tools are female and I intend to do something about that because I know there’s a massive gap in the market”.
She hopes to set up Tools for Life – a training academy to teach women various building trades.
The panel, made up of property expert and TV presenter Kunle Barker, developer Roger Black, architect Tara Gbolade, urban designer and planner, Jennifer Ross and engineer, Andy Downey, agreed Valentine’s idea has “real potential” to grow and follow a similar path to Pimlico Plumbers whose founder Charlie Mullins left school at 15 with no qualifications and began work as a plumber.
Jennifer Ross said it was a “very passionate pitch aimed at an issue that could have real traction”
She advised her to explore her idea with the public sector in the first instance but said ‘there must be a developer or building company prepared to sponsor this initiative”.
Valentine said the pitch had been “an amazing opportunity to get my idea out there” and confirmed that she has already received numerous offers of help from the panel and audience.
” I really hope my project comes to life and helps reshape the construction industry for the better where the lives and prospects of women are improved and society as a whole enjoy the benefits.” she said.
Audience member Rosie Cade tweeted: “Standout for me this evening is Tina Valentine, championing a more equal construction industry. Looking for developers wanting a skill hub, premises for training/running her business.”
The other pitchers were Russell Curtis, Vicky Richardson, Max De Rosee, Russell Curtis, Andrew Wallace, Kristopher Adelaide and Steven Sanham.
Developer Collective co-founder Gus Zogolovitch told the audience,“If you think you can introduce them (the pitchers) to money, if you think you can introduce them to land or a partner that can give them those things, then please come and grab them because the whole idea of this is making things happen”.