Build Your Network and Skills With Resources Just for Women
Surrounding yourself with the right kind of people can make all the difference when starting and running your business. For women specifically, there are unique obstacles that need to be overcome when being self-employed, which makes finding a community to support you extremely valuable.
Here are the five most common challenges faced by female entrepreneurs in the UK:
Did you know that just 9% of the funding funnelled into UK startups goes to women-run businesses? And, not only are there fewer government funding opportunities available to women, but most female-led startups launch with much less capital behind them.
Startup funds are also limited by the fact that women often start their businesses while working part-time, or after a career break. Men, on the other hand, are more likely to launch their business straight out of full-time work.
There is no doubt that sexism exists in the workplace, and it is evident that gender bias is also common among female entrepreneurs. Across a range of industries and sectors, many women struggle to feel as though they are taken seriously by potential clients, business partners, or investors.
Fear of failure
Women tend to be harder on themselves than men and are more likely to fear failure. A recent survey by Vistaprint showed that British female business owners find failure more difficult to overcome than their male counterparts. This would suggest that a fear of failure stops many women from starting businesses to begin with, even though they might want to.
Lack of mentors
It is hard to work towards something when you don’t have someone to look up to. A lack of female founders results in fewer mentorship roles and smaller networking opportunities. Many business owners learn their most valuable lessons from someone who has “been there and done that,” a luxury that many women do not have. However, this is changing as many female business networks launch and continue to grow, highlighting the importance of key mentors and appropriate networking opportunities for women.
As women are more often the primary caregiver in their families, the struggle for work-life balance is real. Mothers in leadership roles, or those that are self-employed, have to constantly juggle the demands of their work and their children.
However, evidence shows that women who do manage to combine motherhood and entrepreneurship are extremely valuable to the UK economy. The so-called “mum-economy” generates £7.2bn for the UK and supports 204,000 jobs. By 2025, these numbers are predicted to rise to £9.5bn and 217,600 jobs.
With these issues in mind, we’re proud to announce the launch of The Female Founders Network – a new Invoice2go-sponsored Facebook community and podcast for ambitious women. You may have already noticed that we also regularly share inspirational stories of women chasing their dreams and growing their businesses on our blog.
To celebrate our new community and women in business, we want to share a collection of useful resources to inspire you and take your business to the next level. Here are our top 10 networks for female entrepreneurs:
1. She can. She did.
Want to know what it’s really like to run your own business? She can. She did. is a one-of-a-kind platform that tells it like it is. Hear from other female founders about their success and, more important, failures. Each story is a reminder that setbacks are normal and that persevering is key.
You can join a Midweek Mingle to connect with other entrepreneurs over gin, goodie bags, and great panel discussions. Meet other women at all stages of the entrepreneurship journey, from just starting out, all the way through to successful executives. Note: these are currently on hold due to COVID-19 but will relaunch when it is safe to do so.
You can also get inspired by other women by reading their stories on the blog, as well as gaining insights from She can. She did. founder Fiona Grayson.
Prefer to listen? The podcast has some real gems as Fiona interviews high profile founders to hear their story in their own words.
2. Hatch Female Founders
A great one for those who are looking to grow or scale their existing business, Hatch Female Founders has a selection of programmes to support female founders.
Their Accelerator Programme was designed to help women take their business to the next level with 10x growth over 10 years. It runs over six months and has a focus on business coaching, mentoring, and training to help accelerate your business.
The Incubator Programme helps you learn how to grow your business sustainably. This programme is specifically for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic women in business.
And, if you’re in the early stages of launching, there’s still a programme for you. The Launchpad Programme helps you develop skills in business modelling, finance, communications, and marketing.
3. Driven Woman
If your goal is to network with other brilliant women like yourself, Driven Woman might be just what you are looking for. It’s perfect for ambitious women who want a push to reach their goals. While you might have a great idea, perhaps you are lacking the concrete plan to make it happen. Driven Woman hosts monthly workshops that can help you take action towards reaching your goals.
There’s an Online Academy that acts as a social platform to connect with other women, learn from expert coaches and gain access to educational videos and practical exercises. Most importantly, you’ll be part of a global community that you can lean on for support when you most need it.
There are also in-person networking groups that you can join around the UK and Europe. These sessions are currently being held via Zoom.
4. For Working Ladies
For Working Ladies has it all. It’s a single, all-encompassing digital resource that exists to answer any question that you might have about work, money, career, entrepreneurship, lifestyle and more.
Launched by Elizabeth Ogabi in 2016 after she searched far and wide for a one-stop digital community for female professionals and business owners. When she couldn’t find one, she decided to create her own.
It’s safe to say that if you need a business question answered, you can find it on For Working Ladies. It’s particularly beneficial for women who are interested in starting a business or building a side-hustle.
Needing a bit of extra motivation? Check out their Instagram page.
If you are a Rural Businesswoman, then this one’s for you. WiRE is the only national women’s business support network for women in rural enterprise.
It’s run from the Harper Adams University in Shropshire. It offers access to 50 WiRE networks across the UK where women in business share advice and knowledge, while learning essential business skills. One of the things we like most about WiRE is its focus on helping its members boost their confidence while supporting one another.
It started in 1998 and has been growing ever since, with members now located all over Britain. Their regular e-newsletter, WiREMail, is packed with useful content such as success stories, upcoming events, news and specials.
6. Blooming Founders
Blooming Founders was founded by Lu Li to fill a gap she saw in the startup ecosystem in Germany, where she lived at the time. Throughout her own startup journey, she made many mistakes and wasted a lot of money and, therefore, started Blooming Founders to help others avoid these same kinds of mistakes.
Getting businesses off the ground is their primary goal. They do this through networking events, helping you recruit interns, giving you a virtual office. There’s also a blog called Had I Known which is filled with helpful resources.
Lu Li has also edited a book that shares the stories of 66 women entrepreneurs called Dear Female Founder. Each chapter is a letter of advice to future founders and is packed with valuable insights that all aspiring business owners should read.
7. Making Money Moves
Prefer to get your business advice in audio form? The Making Money Moves podcast is for you. It focuses on the moves successful people have made to get to where they are today. It’s perfect for women who are looking to make a significant impact in the world but need a little inspiration to help them on theirs. Each episode features honest conversations about money, mindset and diversity from people who have “been there and done that”.
Previous guests include MDM Flow founder Florence Adepoju, makeup artist Kay Montano and blogger Kristabel Plummer.
8. The Entrepreneurs Network
You can think of The Entrepreneurs Network as a think tank for ambitious startups. They bridge the gap between policymakers and entrepreneurs. They spend their time conducting research to support the best policies for entrepreneurship, campaigning for policy changes, and updating entrepreneurs on how these changes will impact their business. Also, they host regular events to connect business owners with policymakers.
Recently, they launched a new project: Female Founders Forum, to encourage more women to take the leap into entrepreneurship. The Female Founders Forum was the first organisation to bring media attention to the equity funding gap.
We recommend subscribing to the Female Founders blog so that you can stay up to date with all the latest news and developments in female entrepreneurship.
9. We Are Tech Women
If you’re working in the tech industry, you’re going to want to familiarise yourself with We Are Tech Women. Since 2015, We Are Tech Women has been helping women in technology enhance their careers and maximise their potential.
It’s a one-stop-shop for everything you could possibly need to know about working in tech as a woman. There are up to date news articles, podcasts, books and more. Plus they host events and conferences, as well as the TechWomen100 Awards which have been running since 2017.
There’s no doubt that the tech industry lacks female representation, with women making up just 17% of the sector. We Are Tech Women are doing important work to change that.
10. The Female Founders Network
Each episode sees hosts Nat Brown and Sylvie Hall interview an entrepreneur, small business owner, or industry leader just like you. By listening to their story, you’ll learn valuable tips and tricks to use in your own business life.
As well as the podcast, our growing Facebook community is a great place to connect with like-minded women and access easily actionable business advice. We hope you’ll consider joining us to gain access to great new content each week.