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As the UK business sector continues to grow, so does the number of female-led startups.
Between 2018 and 2021, the number of all-female-founded companies increased by an average of 37% year-on-year. One in five new firms in the UK are now women-led.
Not only that, women are flourishing in sectors that were once dominated by men, such as finance and technology.
At SeedLegals, we celebrate trailblazing women. Here we’ve picked out inspiring female entrepreneurs who have shaken up industry stereotypes and made it to the top.
Launch date: 2021
Boorman understood the value of mentoring individuals and used her skills to train employees in some of the UK’s top companies. She took her mentoring business to the global arena and also learned that great business ideas can only flourish with the right expertise, knowledge, and resources.
To take things to the next level, Boorman needed funding and also needed to scale and harness the power of technology. Boorman is now a huge advocate of these same tools for all entrepreneurs.
Wowment breaks down the physical and perceived barriers to progression by connecting people online. The company aims to provide effective, accessible mentoring programs by anyone and for anyone. Besides, Wowment helps people who want to progress in their careers and life, regardless of who they are or where they live.
Fran Boorman: “My top tip for female founders who are looking to raise funds would be to think big and really believe in yourself. You are probably more backable than you think you are! Work your network and find investors who believe in what you do.”
Launch date: 2021
Sector: Supply chain
Montgomery became one of the UK’s rising stars by making use of international contacts and technology. She graduated with a degree in business from Peking University and a BA in Chinese, History of Art and Business from Durham University. Following this, Montgomery went on to lead Everledger’s Asian expansion efforts.
Her story shows that local knowledge, combined with industry insight, can lead to big things in business.
Infyos is the source of sustainable, next-generation energy by working with leading battery makers and car manufacturers. Infyos also creates smart technology to build better supply chains.
Demand for battery power is increasing as the move towards greener energy takes hold. Infyos is making sure the supply chains are as efficient, cheap, and green as the products they’re creating.
Sarah Montgomery: “A quote that’s inspired me in business comes from Howard Thurman. He said: ‘Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it.’ This is something I always try to remember in business because, beyond anything else, ‘what the world needs is people who have come alive’. Keep this in mind when you’re planning your next move.”
Company: The Bear Can Read
Launch date: 2020
Sector: Children’s books
Many successful business owners have taken experiences from everyday life and turned them into something of value for consumers. Macoun is a shining example of that. As a mother, she understood the value of books, not as something read by parents to their children, but as assets for children. Thus, the Bear Can Read was born.
Macoun’s company teaches children how to enjoy books through a series of focused lessons on phonics, reading skills and more.
The Bear Can Read is shaping the next generation of readers with its personalised subscription service. Aimed at children aged between 2 and 8, the learn-to-read service provides literature and resources for all abilities.
The deliveries are tailored to each recipient. With the Oxford University Press, the Bear Can Read delivers books and learning aids so children, and their parents, can master phonics, reading skills and more.
Camilla Macoun: “Women are the ultimate multi-taskers. We understand the value of using time efficiently and are well placed to see gaps in the market and create solutions to maximise efficiency.”
Company: Pepper Sq
Launch date: 2019
Sector: Interior design
Yanushkovskaya’s interior design and furniture marketplace was little more than an idea in 2018. So, how did she go from owning a start-up to an award-winning business in three years? Yanushkovskaya states she achieved this by always thinking ahead and surrounding herself with the right people.
In 2018, Yanushkovskaya spotted a gap in the market. She used technology to help consumers narrow down their online choices. Pepper Sq was the result. The company allows consumers to build their dream designs by seeing how everything will look before they click to buy.
Pepper Sq is an acclaimed next-generation eCommerce platform that helps customers navigate through what are frequently endless and overwhelming choices.
Powerful visualisation software allows Pepper Sq to streamline the interior design process and turn a customer’s vision into reality.
Oxana Yanushkovskaya: “My tips are: be eager to make a difference. Don’t get comfortable. Think five steps ahead and be ready to change the business model. Engage with like-minded people and build a superstar team. Finally, surprise your customers every day (in a good way).”
Launch date: 2018
What’s the worst that can happen? Warch follows the philosophy that, ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’. Warch had academic training at Cass Business School and combined it with her experience as Head of Operations at Appear Here.
With a solid understanding of how retail works at all levels, she went back to her childhood passion: jewellery. Today, she uses recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds, while syncing with the ongoing push to save the environment.
Kimai is on the cutting-edge of jewellery design. Warch and her team not only design and create delicate pieces, but they also use sustainable materials. Recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds make Kimai a modern, forward-thinking jeweller.
Jessica Warch: “Never take no for an answer. You’ve got nothing to lose so go for it. Chase people and surround yourself with other women that are going through the same process.”
The five inspirational founders featured above offered some valuable tips on how to be successful.
However, they aren’t the only inspiring women in business. The final five entrepreneurs we want to shine a light on are glowing examples of female-led international companies.
Company: Starling Bank
Launch date: 2015
Having a background in technology can be a real asset in modern business. Boden used her skills in computer science to carve a new niche in the banking world. Today, Starling has backing from Goldman Sachs, Fidelity and other financial institutions. What’s more; Boden leads one of just six billion-dollar companies in the UK founded by women.
Starling Bank is an app-based, real-time money management system. In other words, an online bank without a physical presence. This award-winning app is fully regulated and offers 24/7 customer support. Both personal and business customers can apply for an account within minutes.
Launch date: 2011
Parsons is an influential woman in tech, but her career didn’t begin within this sector. Parsons received her undergraduate degree from Cambridge University in Classics. However, she saw that technology would only play a bigger role in our lives.
As such, she set out to immerse herself in code and, in turn, find a way to train others. This led her to start Decoded. For her efforts in business, tech and education, The Financial Times named Parsons as one of the top 30 female entrepreneurs for 2021.
Decoded is a digital learning platform that now employs over 130 people. Its mission is to “demystify” the digital world and give everyone the chance to learn new skills. As well as data-driven courses, users can find apprenticeships via Decoded.
Company: The Dots
Launch date: 2014
Jamieson used technology to literally connect the dots between creative types and the marketplace. Describing herself as “delightfully dyslexic” on LinkedIn, Jamieson has been named on countless honours lists.
From The Sunday Times’ Top 100 Disruptive Entrepreneurs to Startup Daily’s Top 50 Female Entrepreneurs Under 40, she’s known as a business tycoon. Why? Because she used her experience working in marketing and business development. She understood the power of connecting people, which is a key skill in any industry.
The Dots is more than an online networking platform. The company provides a range of tools and resources for employers, employees and those looking to further their careers. As well as listing and notifications, The Dots allows users to upskill and connect via virtual events.
Launch date: 2016
When first-hand experience combines with a passion for travelling, opportunities are born. Dr Hachach-Haram worked as a plastic surgeon before she started Proximie. This online platform allows doctors to deliver virtual healthcare to anyone in the world.
Proximie has raised over £37 million in funding and received almost £500,000 in Innovate UK grants. It achieved this by working to even out the disparity in healthcare services around the world by using technology. Hachach-Haram has since become a recognised business leader as well as a regular TED speaker.
Launch date: 2017
Sector: Home improvement
Success often breeds success in business, and Depledge is a perfect example of that. She founded Hassle.com (now Helpling) and, within two years, the company’s turnover was £8 million. After taking that company global, she sold it and started Resi in 2017.
Depledge’s vision as an entrepreneur has won her countless awards, including an MBE. She’s also an advisor to the government on all matters to do with business, digital technology and empowering individuals.
Resi is an online architectural platform that makes it easy for homeowners to design, style and renovate their properties. What’s more, it provides easy ways for customers to get quotes, find vetted professionals and apply for help financing a project.
Women only account for 32% of small business owners in the UK. Yet, our 10 female entrepreneurs have all shown that you don’t have to be confined by statistics. Thanks to women like Boden et al taking the lead, the tide is turning.
The Rose Review report found that more women than ever are starting businesses. According to the data, there were 145,200 all-female-led corporations in 2021. That’s up from 56,200 in 2018.
The proverbial glass ceiling that may have existed in the past has been shattered. The 10 female entrepreneurs we’ve profiled are a testament to that.
Women can and have achieved remarkable things in business, and you can do the same. You can create a small business, you can stay local, or you can expand globally. It doesn’t matter what you do. What matters is that you know it’s possible.
Get in touch with us today and find out how we can help your business go to the next level.