Trailblazing female founders celebrated at House of Lords 

The impressive impact of the rising tide of UK female founders has been spotlighted at a special International Women’s Day reception at the House of Lords.

Celebrating the powerful contribution of female entrepreneurs to the UK economy, society, and communities, Small Business Britain hosted over 100 inspirational women driving change across sectors including AI, sustainability, and engineering, who were selected for its 2024 ‘IAlso100’ line-up.

Forming part of Small Business Britain’s f:Entrepreneur campaign, the IAlso100 champions the unique impact of multi-achieving female business owners who lead purpose-driven businesses and support their communities along the way through volunteering, mentoring, and other community support.  

Among the 100 women celebrated at the event was Sara Chandran, Founder of Fresh and Fearless, a diversity, equity, and inclusion consultancy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, who started Tapoly, a platform that harnesses big data and AI to match customers with insurance products, and Vanessa Barzasi whose business BioBright offers decorative algae plants. 

Data from the Rose Review last year shows that over 150,000 new companies were started by women in 2022 – more than twice as many as in 2018. Research from Small Business Britain in autumn 2023 also found that the desire for greater flexibility is the biggest driving force behind women starting businesses in the UK, with over a third (39%) listing this as the primary factor, followed by 36% who said they were motivated to pursue a passion.

Despite the challenges of running a business during the cost-of-living crisis, most female founders (86%) also say they are happier since starting-up. Three quarters (74%) report greater flexibility and almost half (48%) say their work-life balance has improved.  

This year a group of young female founders working with The Prince’s Trust were also invited as special guests at the event, where they had the opportunity to meet and network with other female entrepreneurs, as well as hearing a powerful speech from guest speaker Grace Graham, founder of WorkSpa, herself an alumna of The Prince’s Trust, on the importance of International Women’s Day.

Small Business Britain is now an official patron of The Prince’s Trust’s ‘Women Supporting Women’ campaign – which supports young women from disadvantaged communities and facing adversity to transform their lives, by building the confidence and skills to get into work, self-employment, education, or training.

“Women are starting businesses in greater numbers than ever and making an essential contribution to our economy, so it is vital that we celebrate and support this,” said Michelle Ovens CBE, Founder of Small Business Britain and the ƒ:Entrepreneur campaign: “So much has been thrown at women running businesses over the past few years and they have fought back with impressive resilience. This campaign underlines the importance of nurturing female entrepreneurship so it continues to flourish in the UK, playing a key role in driving growth and recovery. An important part of this involves encouraging the next generation, so we are thrilled to be working with the Prince’s Trust to support the amazing work they do with young people.”   

Amie Atkinson, Head of Philanthropy at The Prince’s Trust, said: “We are delighted to welcome Small Business Britain as a patron of our ‘Women Supporting Women’ campaign. Young women face a range of unique challenges, that have been exacerbated by the cost-of-living crisis and threaten their wellbeing, careers, and aspirations. 

“This support enables us to achieve our aim of empowering even more young women facing these barriers to develop the confidence and skills they need to achieve their potential.” 

The f:Entrepreneur campaign offers a host of events, training, and networking opportunities to boost skills, capability, and confidence.  It will also be supporting a series of special events in partnership with The Prince’s Trust.

To see the full line-up of the 100 women featured in this year’s f:Entrepreneur #iAlso100 campaign visit the f-entrepreneur website.