- The number of women in senior roles such as CEO, CFO, and CIO is increasing incrementally.
- Insider spoke to two young female CEOs who built their business from the ground up.
- Their advice focused on education, building soft skills, and creating a good supporting system.
The number of women in senior roles is increasing incrementally, particularly in roles such as executive officer, chief finance officer, and chief information officer.
The Alison Rose Review, published in March, found that more women than ever are starting new companies and more than 140,000 companies were set up by all-female teams last year. This represents year-on-year growth of more than a third.
The review was first set up in 2019 by Alison Rose, the CEO of UK bank NatWest, to identify the barriers women face when starting a business.
Insider spoke to two young female CEOs who shared their top tips on how to start a business at a young age.
Eyanagho, 27, is the founder of The Glow Pot, a skincare brand for Black skin types. In an interview with Insider, she recalled how her parents struggled to find the right skincare product for her when she was younger.
She said that her UK-based business was created off the back of her childhood struggles with her skin as she suffered bad eczema. “Most of my childhood memories were about my parents running around town trying to find different medications or creams – we tried everything, including seeing dermatologists,” she added.
“There was no respite from it,” Eyanagho said, adding that she believed the needs of black people were not considered in parts of the UK.
When she started out, Eyanagho was completely self-funded and had no family, friends, or investors that helped her get the business off the ground. She now employs two full-time staff but has also had to continue working another full-time job to ensure there is a constant stream of funding for the business.
When running her business, her tasks range from building a community on Twitter to becoming a trusted source in her community on skincare advice and voicing important issues, she said: “I don’t mind being the contrarian – I’m going to use my platform, my voice to make a way for people who look like me,” she said.
Cat Philp, 20, is the founder and CEO of digital marketing agency Pivot Marketing.
Philp, who lives in the West Midlands, UK, decided to use her marketing skills to set her business up after being furloughed at the beginning of the pandemic. While she never saw herself as a CEO, she said: “Part of creating this business has been happening in the background, kind of subconsciously.”
Generally, it is hard to make a name for yourself and create a successful business but as a woman it’s even harder, Philp said. “Particularly being young and a woman, you get taken advantage of quite a lot, and you are underestimated.”
She said: “There are times when clients put you in the box and don’t think you have any skill sets. You have to prove yourself even more to show that you are qualified.”
She added: “You’ve got these barriers to push through and I want to get rid of those barriers as much as I can.” Philp aspires to pave the way for younger future female entrepreneurs so that they are not underestimated in the same way she was.
Educate yourself on what’s already out there
Your driving force will always be where you’re going – find role models who have done similar things to you or whom you aspire to be like, Philp said.
Eyanagho added: “Once you’ve researched your market, just go for it. The worse that can happen is you fail.”
Develop soft skills
Philp stressed that the most important part is having the right mindset – keeping yourself in check, building the right habits – it’s about having the right tools to ensure self-belief.
Have a support system
“It is a lot easier to give up in most circumstances than it is to keep going,” Eyanagho said. Creating a business does not come without challenges, but when you are passionate and committed to it there will be times when it’s all worth it, she added.
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