PICTURE: LOUISE HARRIS OF THE BIG LEARNING COMPANY IN ONE OF THE GETTY IMAGES.
Louise Harris, founder of the Big Learning Company and co-working space Tramshed Tech in Cardiff, has been selected as one of 15 women to front a national campaign by NatWest to improve the way female entrepreneurs and business leaders are represented in media and advertising.
NatWest has partnered with Getty Images on the Female Focus campaign to create a new gallery of images on gettyimages.com to illustrate the diversity of female-led businesses in the UK.
Thecampaign comes at a pivotal time as research commissioned by the bank in conjunction with YouGov shows that female entrepreneurs have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, compared with men.
Both The Big Learning Company and Tramshed Tech have continued to operate throughout a difficult 12 months, with many new challenges for teams.
Louise Harris explained: “The most difficult thing has been the lack of visibility, and not having clear anchor points. 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.”
Commenting on her involvement with the NatWest and Getty Images campaign, Louise has some key advice for aspiring female-led start-ups: “It is 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 to get something started and you can work on improving it as you go.”
She reminds anyone looking for advice to tap into the experts around them: “Remember: you are not alone. There are many inspiring female founders who come before you and who will be willing to help and advise if you have questions and face challenges along the way.”
The new Getty Images gallery features a range of NatWest’s own customers and authentically depicts women of all ages and backgrounds working across a diverse spectrum of industries including farming, blacksmithing, recycling, sustainable business, technology and wellness, and also reflects the impact of the pandemic on how certain sectors operate.
The campaign is the latest in a series of female-focussed initiatives by Natwest. Earlier this year, the bank doubled its UK Female Entrepreneurship Funding to £2billion.
Margaret Jobling, chief marketing officer at NatWest, commented: “Providing funding and business support is central to how we support female-led businesses as a bank. But we know the issue is far broader than this, and that a lack of relatable role models is another barrier that needs to be overcome before women can picture themselves setting up a business.”
“Through this partnership with Getty Images, we want to encourage a more realistic and diverse portrayal of female business owners, workers and entrepreneurs in the UK, and hope that this is just the beginning of that transformation.”
The partners will continue to add images to the gallery with NatWest now opening the project up and asking the general public to nominate inspiring female business owners to be photographed and featured.
The next 15 women selected to take part in the campaign will receive 1:1 coaching sessions and business support from NatWest as well as a photoshoot with Getty Images in addition to being featured as part of the image gallery.
For more information on NatWest’s support for female entrepreneurs, and to nominate women to feature in the next series of shoots, please visit: https://femalefocus.natwestbusinesshub.com/