This is a guest blog post by Hira Saeed, Community Leader, Startup Weekend Karachi who writes about startups, AI, Chatbots and Big data.
Successful women are often stereotypically viewed as aggressive, masculine, unemotional, angry and Ice maidens that will tread on anyone to get what they want.
These outdated and slanderous opinions are definitely on the way out as the rise of female entrepreneurs continues. This success is further elevated by the mutual respect amongst successful women and the desire to see each other succeed.
As much as we are moving in the right direction to close the gender gap and remove the bias that was so accepted even just 10 years ago, the “the old boys club” ethos is still prevalent in many sectors of the business world. Whilst in some environments this can no doubt be a hindrance to women, it can also act as a driving force that generates collaboration, unity, and opportunity.
London acts like a magnet to talent across the UK and beyond. The enterprise and energy of the capital for business, new ideas, and professional ambition know few other cities with which to compare. With the trend of innovation hubs and collaborative working spaces, there are many companies that have jumped in this ship to sail it smoothly. These companies offer business support services featuring accelerator & innovation programs, entrepreneur training, and community events as well. This shows that there has never been a better time to be an entrepreneur in the London.
As a center of new methods and new trends, it is natural that the city boasts a dynamic assortment of women propelling their industries forward. The success of many acts as an inspiration to women across London and the UK as a whole. Breaking molds, as well as glass ceilings, they are reinventing the story of women in British business.
Here are just a few of London’s great culture of empowered female business leaders.
Carolyn McCall heads one of the most recognizable airlines in Europe from a large, open-plan office in an orange hanger outside London. Despite having no aviation experience previously, having been more involved in marketing and media as CEO of Guardian Newspapers, she has nevertheless managed to revamp EasyJet during 5 years of record profits. She heads a company very friendly to female positions, with one-third of EasyJet’s management being women and more than one-half of the executive team.
Phoebe Hugh is a young up-and-comer in London’s tech scene. Having co-founded the start-up Brolly, she is carrying the flag of female leadership into the field of artificial intelligence. Starting work on the project in 2015, Hugh met her co-founder at Entrepreneur First’s 2016 cohort and work accelerated on the personal insurance concierge application. Brolly aims to optimize insurance coverage for users by determining what insurance they need and informing them whether they are over or under-insured for their needs.
Nafisa Bakkar is a London Muslim woman that recognized the difficulty Muslim women face of searching for clothes that are fashionable but remain modestly Islamic. Founding the website with her sister after studying at UCL, Amaliah aims to help amplify the voices of Muslim women for fashion, beauty and lifestyle. In doing so, the website has also become a platform for the voices and opinions of Muslim women in the UK.
Jessi Baker is yet another innovative young woman in the capital making waves in the tech space as it spreads into new opportunities and dimensions. She received one million pounds to create her start-up service Provenance which allows shoppers to find out exactly where their food and clothing come from to put them in an ethical context. Baker advocates a combination of technology and transparency that allows consumers to make an impact on our damage to the environment through informed purchases.
Alex Brownsell and her partner took their love of unconventional and rebellious style in the 90s from bands like TCL and No Doubt and channeled their passion into a salon for multi-colored hair-dos that have been adding vibrancy to the capital’s streets since 2010. The business has grown since then with 3 shops and a permanent installation in Topshop Oxford Circus. Bleach London has also launched a product line and counts celebrities among its many clients.
Rosie Davies is a young Londoner that heads PR agency The London Fashion Agency, which has a unique mission. Instead of charging costly monthly retainers, the agency is attempting to disrupt the often stacked press system within the fashion agency by charging affordable monthly subscriptions instead to small creative. The goal is to give quality designers of more modest means the space they deserve on Britain’s leading fashion publications. The London Fashion Agency works exclusively with independent brands and has received good reviews for its work.