It’s no secret that London is a thriving hub of corporate activity that helps to lift even new entrants to the business space. According to recent government figures shared by The Telegraph, firms in the capital and South East land roughly 67% of all UK equity deals and 75% of invested funds.
Therefore, it also shouldn’t surprise that these parts of the country are breaking out as areas where female entrepreneurs can succeed. In high-productivity sectors like IT and manufacturing, 25% of entrepreneurs are female – but we can expect this modest figure to rise due to various initiatives.
Networking plays a big part in female success
This has been particularly highlighted by Anette B van Blokland, a Forbes contributor whose own working life has included over a decade working for large, multinational firms in the City.
She highlights recent Facebook research indicating that female business founders who are part of a corporate community are twice as likely to anticipate growth than their counterparts who aren’t. Recent years have seen launches of several female-only business networks.
Participation in such networks can not only improve confidence and spur inspiration for fresh ideas but also provide female entrepreneurs with a means of accessing otherwise elusive corporate exposure and funding. These networks tap into women’s natural inclination to help each other.
Just a few examples of female success stories
Olivia Knight, who founded Patchwork and now chairs Sharing Economy UK, has cited technology as a key factor easing meetings between like-minded businesswomen. “It’s brilliant to have access to a pool of supportive women and being able to fire off urgent questions for honest replies, or get recommendations.”
Knight, who works in south-east London, has mentioned Ada’s List, The Coven and Hive Founders as local networks upon which she relies. Meanwhile, Layla Sargeant – who established The Seam, a company matching local skilled tailors to people needing their services – has used NatWest’s crowdfunding scheme Back Her Business to raise £4,000 for creating a website.
“We’re not even a year old. We’re still in a hyper-growth state,” she has said of The Seam. She has also teamed up with online retailers to enable free alterations for customers disgruntled with the fit of attire they have ordered.
From dusty museum to exciting virtual reality experience
Another female-led beneficiary of a NatWest scheme – in this instance, a pre-accelerator programme now called Business Builder – has been Museumio. This educational software platform turns museum experiences into vibrant, immersive worlds via the magic of virtual reality.
Museumio co-founders Kaitlin Fritz and Olga Kravchenko met at a London university networking event, though the pair did initially struggle to find the marketing piece of the puzzle. Ms Kravchenko admits: “Selling direct to customers is one of the most demanding tasks.”
They eventually made a breakthrough in this area following much trial and error. Printing out tried-and-tested marketing materials, such as booklets and cards, with printing machines from Duplo International could help future female leaders to make their mark in the capital.