2020 has been a challenging year that’s forced many to adapt to change in the face of adversity. Whilst there’s evidence emerging that suggests that women have suffered particularly due to the pandemic, 2020 has also been a successful year for female tech entrepreneurs, with many using the pandemic as an opportunity to re-focus and serve the new needs of customers also suffering in the global pandemic. A great example of this type of innovation is The Printable Mask Company, co-founded by Josie Smith and Karen Richards, where customers can have face masks printed to match their items of clothing.
Women may still be under-represented in the tech industry, as well as in entrepreneurship in the UK with just 1 in 3 entrepreneurs being women, however, female tech entrepreneurs are leading the way in inspiring change. We’ve highlighted five female founders to watch in 2021 whose products and services are contributing to closing the gender gap in tech and making it a more diverse and inclusive space.
Daisy Chain is a free online platform for parents where they can connect with flexible employers with a shared objective to enhance their work-life balance. The platform is unique in that parents can create a free profile detailing their experience, career goals, interests etc. and search for likeminded employers. Once they find employers they’re interested in they can ‘like’ them and the employers then have the option to engage with the candidates by liking them back. This can then lead on to direct engagement through meetings and interviews. With flexible working on the rise due to the uptake of working from home in 2020, it’s likely to be sought after by all types of professionals in 2021, but especially working parents and carers. So initiatives like Daisy Chain are one to watch.
Caroline Plumb OBE founded Fluidly in 2016. Fluidly uses intelligent cash flow software to produce fast cash flow forecasts for companies which enable them to plan ahead with confidence and security. Since launching, the company has won multiple industry awards and has been named in WIRED’s Top 100 Hottest European Startups. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Caroline Plumb has played an active role in co-founding the Covid-19 Volunteer Testing Network project, which supports a network of life sciences labs who already have the machinery, facilities and personnel to carry out Covid-19 testing for their local communities.
Foundervine is an award-winning social enterprise that connects early-stage ventures to mission-driven companies, both public and private, to utilise their talent at helping to scale ventures and get the most from high-potential entrepreneurial ventures. Its Managing Director Izzy Obeng has been featured in The Telegraph, The Times, the BBC, TEDx and in 2019 was named by Tech Nation as one of the 50 most influential black voices in UK tech.
Since 2018, Foundervine has helped over 2k diverse future leaders in creating, testing and sustaining ventures around the globe, and there are certainly no plans for Foundervine to slow down as we approach 2021. With projects such as building inclusive acceleration programmes, delivering training to big brands such as Just Eat and PwC, as well as running the Foundervine Fellowship Programme. Foundervine is leading the way in helping diverse start-ups solve real-world problems and inspire change for good.
Alaina Percival set up Women Who Code to support and empower women already in tech to boost their skills and confidence. Job dissatisfaction can be an issue that leads to women in tech leaving their careers earlier than planned, and Women Who Code supports initiatives that prevent that happening such as mentorship opportunities, an established community of role models, coding resources and more. Women Who Code has recently announced a partnership with mentor-led online learning platform Springboard, to launch scholarship and recruitment programmes. For women in tech looking to boost their careers in 2021, this new partnership is positive news.
TeachKloud is early years and pre-school management and compliance software that enables schools, nurseries, academies and more to go paperless with attendance records, risk assessments, policies, learning tools and more. It was founded in 2017 by Wendy Oke during her PhD in early childhood education and care and has succeeded in enabling paperless transition for many pre-schools and nurseries – freeing up more time for teachers and caregivers. A major takeaway from the Covid-19 pandemic has been that tech and digitalisation can be life-changing in terms of how it keeps businesses connected with customers, but also how it enables employees to perform their jobs under new circumstances. For the childcare industry, tech such as TeachKloud is leading the way in next-generation childcare management, where parents, carers, and teachers can communicate just as effectively virtually than face to face and where records are safely kept in one communal digital space.
Read more about how an authentic brand narrative can help unlock investment for female entrepreneurs here.