Yesterday, one tweet made its way around the globe: “Murray is indeed the first Brit to win Wimbledon in 77 years… unless you think women are people.” Whether you agree or disagree that sporting champion Virginia Wade has been written out of the British history books in favour of that pesky shorts-wearing Scottish bloke, we never need an excuse for championing women in industry, dodgy headlines or not. With that in mind, we want to throw some cheering at brilliant women we’ve encountered in the entrepreneurial world. Game on.
Founder and CEO of global company Pacific Direct, founding member of the Young Entrepreneurs Organisation, three-time finalist in the Ernst and Young Entrepreneur Of The Year competition and now focussing her attention on a new online platform to help mid-sized companies get practical business advice, Lara Morgan is a mighty force to be reckoned with.
She started her entrepreneur story aged just 18, when she left school and worked in Hong Kong selling business gifts to airlines and banks – a job that would lead her to set up Pacific Direct aged 23. She achieved business fame when she celebrated her first £1m profit by taking all her staff on holiday to Barbados. Looking to hire at all, Lara?
Known as the woman who introduced pre-pay mobile phone top-ups to the UK, mother of three Dale Murray helped launch Vodafone New Zealand in 1992 before championing the innovation of topping up phone credit in shops and banks back in 1999. She successfully sold her business Omega in 2004 (which at the time was enabling £450m of top-ups a year), and since then has focussed on investing in and supporting startups and SME’s – providing help, advice and finance to fledgling entrepreneurs. In 2011 she was named British Angel Investor of the Year, and just this year she was award a CBE for services to business. Whew.
Hayley Gait Golding
Selling her home in order to fund her entrepreneurial dream, inspired by a mission to get kids and adults everywhere eating healthily and refusing to give up no matter what – we love Bear Nibbles’ founder Hayley Gait Golding’s story. Her 100% fruit snacks have so far been stocked in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s Asda, Tesco and Morrisons, never mind over 2,000 independent outlets, and her fiercely ambitious plans make her a role model for entrepreneurs everywhere. She’s been awarded along the way too; as one of the Enterprising Young Brits 2010, one of the Women Of The Future 2011, and with a Natwest Everywoman award in 2012.
Co-founder of the brilliant Startup Britain as well as founder of Enterprise Nation, Emma Jones is ludicrously impressive mix of entrepreneur, author and small business expert. Following a career with Arthur Andersen, she launched her first business aged 27, successfully selling it two years later. Now she advises, champions and supports small business across the UK, with a reputation for getting things done, and getting it done right.
Alice Bentinck is COO of Entrepreneur First – the not-for-profit initiative designed to help budding entrepreneurs launch their own technology startups. With a background in business analysis at McKinsey, she is now dedicated to showing the brilliant youth of today that they don’t necessarily need to go into a big company in order to pursue business success. She’s also a champion of Code First: Girls, supporting top female graduates entering careers in tech entrepreneurship.
Founder and CEO of DoNation, Hermoine Taylor’s cause is a truly inspirational one. Championing a new kind of sponsorship, where instead of raising funds you get people to change their eco-behaviour for the better, her company and unique system has so far saved the planet 408,797kgs of CO2. She and her (as yet all female) team hope to change the way in which people approach green living – not by preaching or by lecturing, but by pledging tiny changes in their lifestyle instead of money to great causes.
Beginning her mission to empower entrepreneurial youth aged just 13, Melody Hossaini is now one of the leading figures of youth sector business. In 2009 she set up the social enterprise InspirEngage, an organisation passionate about skills training and youth engagement, and travels all around the world delivering bootcamps, programmes and workshops designed to get young people Work Ready. In just three years her company has reached over a million people, and – lest we forget – she was also selected (from 75,000 applicants) to be a candidate in Lord Alan Sugar’s The Apprentice.
Who have we missed? Male or female, animal, vegetable or indeed mineral – we love learning about wonderful people and things. Hit us up on Twitter@enternships and point us towards great stuff.
By Natasha Hodgson, Enternships Community Manager