THERE is still sexism in business – that’s the view of one Herefordshire entrepreneur who is now at the helm of a Herefordshire drinks company.

Jo Hilditch says she still gets a sinking feeling when walking into a room full of businessmen, despite her position as CEO of White Heron Drinks, manufacturers of British Cassis.

The company, based in Lyonshall, grow blackcurrants on the farm to make Cassis liqueur.

The Cassis is available in independent stores, farm shop and garden centres across the country, from Cornwall in the south to the Outer Hebrides in the north.

Locally, Cafe Miro’s in Hereford, Canon Pyon Stores and Radway Bridge Garden Centre are among the stockists.

But Ms Hilditch said for any other women looking at going into business, they must be brave, bold and go the extra mile.

“I think my generation of women are still learning to ensure they are heard without feeling embarrassed about the power of their voice,” she said.

“I hope that the young woman of today can shake off this slight inferiority complex.

“Even today there is sexism in business – with only one in five businesses run by women it’s not surprising that we are still struggling to get on.

“Even now I sometimes have a sinking feeling when I enter a room of alpha males – their approach is different to ours, they are not always so keen to listen and usually have an inflated idea about their successes.

“That is not to say that they aren’t brilliant and running great businesses, they are; but I think women are more likely to feel modest about their achievements.

“Having just read Good to Great by Jim Collins my reflection would be that the more prevalent female approach is likely to be more successful in the long term.

“So I think I would say be brave, be bold, participate, have ideas and run with them, go the extra mile and never feel that inferiority as I did.

“Gone are the days when a farmer will look over my shoulder in a networking event and say, “So, where’s your husband then? What does he do?” They know me better than that!

“Finally I would say, never be too proud to take advice, there are always people who know more than you; listening to people is generally better than talking and no-one likes a know-all.”

Ms Hilditch added diversification on the family farm was her first “big break” in business.

“I had a few jobs in PR and marketing which became progressively more senior, but I didn’t really get a big break until I came back to the farm in Herefordshire which I took over when my brother died.

“The opportunities that abounded were myriad. Diversification has been key to everything I have done on the farm and. The different projects I have undertaken have been challenging, interesting and mostly profitable.”