NatWest has launched a pioneering new campaign – #BeTheRoleModel – appointing Louise Harris of Cardiff-based digital businesses Tramshed Tech and Big Learning Company, as an ambassador to help challenge stereotypes and create a more diverse and inclusive visual landscape, showing female business founders “as they really are.”
“Creating a more diverse visual landscape, showing founders as they really are”
This high-profile campaign is being run in partnership with Getty Images – with the declared intent of helping attract more investment into female-founded businesses and providing a greater diversity of role models for the next generation.
Louise, who left a full-time teaching role in 2010 to set up Big Learning Company, has already built an established and fast-growing business delivering digital and tech training to young people and teachers, with a focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects. After great success upskilling thousands of learners, she also co-founded a co-working space in Cardiff, Tramshed Tech, to act as a growth platform that helps roll out business support and digital training within the tech industry. Tramshed Tech now operates a network of spaces across Wales, with partner spaces in the UK and Europe – as well as supporting the growth of Welsh start-up and scaling tech companies with ambitions for international reach and global expansion..
Louise believes that dealing with the pandemic has been even more challenging than trading through the combined effects of a global financial crisis, Brexit and political turmoil, “The most difficult thing is the lack of visibility and not having clear anchor points,” she says. “But, despite this, we have continued to grow and expand by remaining agile, communicating as much as we can with our teams and customers, and by staying optimistic for the future.”
“Working with learners across the world – and amazing innovators like astronaut Tim Peake”
Asked what her standout business memory has been so far, Louise cites a brush with the stars. “As a LEGO Education partner company, Big Learning Company has worked with learners across the world to inspire their digital and technology learning. One of our proudest moments was when, after returning from his groundbreaking journey into space, renowned European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake came to speak to young people and businesses at Tramshed Tech as part of his ambassadorial work for the Prince’s Trust. To see such an amazing innovator enthusing so many people, packed into a space we had created, was so encouraging and made us very proud of our progress.”
“There’s no right time to start a business, so don’t delay”
Louise’s advice to other women thinking of starting their own business is simple: “Don’t wait for the ‘right time’ to start a business. It’s common for women to delay starting an enterprise while waiting for all of the right things to be in place, but if you wait for all the stars to align, it won’t happen, as there is no right time.
“In the tech sector, lean and agile start-ups use a process of launching and iterating a product in tiny steps. My advice would be: ‘get something started and you can work on improving it as you go.’
She also reminds anyone looking for advice to tap into the experts around them: “Remember: you are not alone. There are many inspiring female founders who went before you and who will be willing to help and advise if you have questions and when you face the inevitable challenges along the way.”
“Taking the lead in highlighting the great work of women in business”
Louise says it “means so much” to be involved in the NatWest and Getty Images’ Female Focus #BeTheRoleModel initiative “as I think it’s fantastic that they are taking the lead in highlighting the great work of women in business.
“We have started to make progress in championing female entrepreneurs in the UK but we have still so much further to go, so every little step is helping more and more women launch their ideas and innovations.
“We also need to do more to highlight the work of women in business from all sectors and industries – to help attract more investment into female-founded businesses and provide diverse role models for the next generation of women in business.”
The campaign and Louise’s case study can be found on www.natwestbusinesshub.com and to find out more about joining Louise as an ambassador for female founders, please go to: natwestbusinesshub.com/femalefounders