Wed 27 January 2021

After a Whitehall review exposed continued problems, Ms Suffragette highlights female entrepreneurs who have overcome barriers preventing women from entering the business world – and thrived.

The recent Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship has revealed that increasing the number of female entrepreneurs could add an additional £250 billion to the UK economy. Presently only 1 in 3 UK entrepreneurs is female and only 13% of senior people on UK investment teams are women. In fact, start-up funding is the #1 barrier mentioned by women non-entrepreneurs.

What currently motivates enterprising women to set off along this seemingly rocky road and never look back?

Alison Rose, deputy CEO of NatWest Holdings and CEO of Commercial and Private Banking, recommends eight realistic initiatives to improve matters – including the acceleration of entrepreneur-related courses for schools and colleges, and a digital “first-stop shop”.

It’s an encouraging and empowering start, but what currently motivates enterprising women to set off along this seemingly rocky road and never look back? When Laura Amos, founder of Dessert Deli, and Tarryn Gore, co-founder of Kafoodle, shared the stage at this year’s Women’s Enterprise Day it was clear that their business concepts were poles apart and had evolved from completely different mindsets.

Dessert Deli began life on a Balham market stall in 2008. Former pastry chef Laura spotted a gap in the market for luxury, hand-made desserts and, at the age of 26, decided to depart the restaurant world to work from her kitchen table, using a credit card for finance.  Her enthusiasm for quality resulted in her creations being stocked in the premium food halls of Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and Fortnum & Mason.  In 2012 she made 40,000 iced cupcakes for the Olympics. 

Laura has now opted to down-scale so that she can continue to maintain control over the quality of her product. Tarryn Gore, meanwhile, required big funding and a strong tech support team to achieve her goal of creating a healthier world through transparent and reliable food information. Originally a nutritionist and chef, Tarryn confesses that computer technology was not at all in her remit.  She developed and funded the project whilst maintaining a full-time job and spent her free time learning from colleagues in the IT department.

Tarryn…has a network of friends who meet regularly to share ideas and concerns, keep the momentum alive and recognise their successes.

“Going into the software or tech industries is probably one of the most expensive things to do and I realized I could never afford to do this on my own”, she says.  In 2014, at the age of 28, she teamed up with a co-partner and they used their own money to pay a tech specialist to help build the programme. Following angel funding, today Kafoodle is an award-winning company.

Tarryn is a strong advocate of “finding your tribe”.   She has a network of friends who meet regularly once a month to share their ideas and concerns, keep the momentum alive and to recognise their successes. The Rose Report emphasizes the value of mentoring and I have decided to sign up to, where an experienced team will match you with your mentor and organize Mentoring Meeting and Motivating events nationally.

As Tarryn Gore points out, “You have to take the risk and enjoy the ride…” You might even be able to save the country.

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