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Female Focus: #BeTheRoleModel

Welcome to the NatWest Getty Images collection, where we’re proud to announce the 15 inspirational female-run businesses to be featured in our new campaign.

Last updated: 21 Apr 2021 7 min read

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© Getty Images

The UK’s famous spirit of entrepreneurship is resolute, despite one of the toughest years in recent history, which has had a disproportionate impact on female entrepreneurs. The International Monetary Fund has cautioned that Covid-19 threatens to roll back the last 30 years of economic gains for women.

This is one of the reasons why NatWest and Getty Images partnered to launch a nationwide campaign and competition to tackle stereotypes of female founders and help create a more inclusive visual landscape that shows entrepreneurs as they really are.

After receiving more than 3,000 nominations from SMEs across the UK, we are so excited to announce the next 15 businesses that will feature in our Female Focus: #BeTheRoleModel campaign. Each winner will receive a personal photoshoot with Getty Images and a bespoke package of upskilling and business support from NatWest, including coaching sessions with a member of our Accelerator team.

Margaret Jobling, chief marketing officer at NatWest, says: “Every entrant had a brilliant story to tell about why their business was extraordinary, and we saw a real breadth of sectors and industries taking part. Arriving at our winners was a really tough process, but we’re so excited to partner with these 15 businesses to create impactful ads that will help their brands thrive, as well as offering them support and expertise through our Enterprise programme to help them take their business to the next level. Congratulations to all our winners.”

The winners are…

Elle Upshall, Clock Off

Clock Off, based in Grantham, Nottinghamshire, provides affordable campervan hire and unique micro-campervan conversions, inspiring people to reclaim their free time and get on the road. On her competition win, co-founder Elle Upshall says: “As the trials and tribulations of Covid and lack of female representation continues in my industry, this really does mean the world. It really is an awesome initiative.”

Hasina Rahman, Pink Diamond Martial Arts

Pink Diamond Martial Arts, based in Luton, Bedfordshire, offers personal training sessions and self-defence classes for women, promoting empowerment, boosting self-confidence and teaching life-saving skills. Owner Hasina Raham, who has three black belts in three different martial arts, is also the author of a children’s book, Heroes, a guide to anti-bullying.

Sarah Singleton, Azure Liquid Solutions

Azure Liquid Solutions, in St Helens, Merseyside, manufactures and sources a range of liquid solutions – from cleaning products to printing materials – for domestic customers and commercial clients in industries including automotive, cosmetics and engineering. Managing director Sarah Singleton, says: “I have often found that being a female business owner in a traditionally non-female industry can be quite isolating and it is difficult to find like-minded women on a similar path. So I’m not only over to the moon to have been selected as a winner but I’m also now proud to be part of a project that aims to bring diverse females together.”

Hélène Virolan, Girls Into Coding and Green Green Robotics

Hélène Virolan is the founder of Girls Into Coding, a community interest company based in London that provides girls aged 10 to 14 with unique hands-on experience in computing, robotics and coding. She is also the co-founder of Green Green Robotics, which manufactures robotic refilling stations for cleaning products, helping to reduce plastic waste.

Tracy Watkins, Coterie Leather

Founded in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, Coterie sells luxury leather bags handmade by designer Tracy Watkins, using techniques intended to minimise waste and maximise use of scrap materials.

Charlotte Bowyer and Holly Watson, the Zero Waste Company

This store-cum-cafe in Royal Tunbridge Wells, Kent, is completely plastic free, allowing customers to bring their own containers in and stock up on household cleaners and bulk food goods, alongside organic fruit and vegetables, ethical cosmetics and more. Its vegetarian kitchen also partners with other local business to combat potential food waste by using fresh produce that would otherwise be thrown away.

Hannah Botes, No Acres

No Acres is Carmarthenshire’s first microgreen producer, using repurposed shipping containers to create a sustainable vertical farming solution. The family-run enterprise supplies its greens and fresh herbs to local businesses, cooperatives and direct to the public.

Rosie Carver, SRM Carver and Son

This family-run construction business, based in Bath, specialises in crushing, screening and recycling aggregates such as asphalt and brick to help turn waste materials into something useful. Managing director Rosie Carver says: “It’s an honour to have been selected and subsequently involved in this incredible and vital initiative for female founders. Entrepreneurship is not gender specific – it’s about taking risks, challenging the stereotype and presenting great ideas, irrespective of gender.”

Deborah Breen, Wilde Mode

Dundee-based Wilde Mode makes colourful and ethical, vegan and gender- and size-inclusive products, from underwear to bespoke designs, supporting and celebrating its core customers from the LGBT community and people with chronic and mental illnesses.

Hannah Walkiewicz, the Build Bristol Group

The Build Bristol Group is a company of architects and builders providing full design and construction services for commercial and residential project. Although founded in Bristol, it now renovates, extends and refurbishes properties across the UK and overseas.

Janine Davies-Tutt, Ashwells Reclaimed Timber

From its timber yard and mill in Essex, Ashwells reclaims tropical hardwoods and repurposes the timber for future use in a Forestry Stewardship Council certified process that “prevents further deforestation, saves energy and mineral resources, and protects architectural history”. Managing director Janine Davies-Tutt has worked in the reclamation industry for more than 30 years and is also one of the founder members of SALVO UK, an organisation that specialises in bringing together like-minded companies within the reclamation sector.

Fi O’Brien, Girls Who Grind Coffee

Girls Who Grind Coffee is an all-female speciality coffee roastery based in Upton Scudamore, Wiltshire. O’Brien and her business partner, Casey LaLonde, launched the business in a bid to help improve equality in the coffee industry, and source their coffee solely from female producers.

Dr Indy Johal, Renew Dental Clinic

Renew Dental is a private practice based in Walsall, Birmingham, focused on providing a friendly and empathetic environment in which to empower patients to make decisions around their oral health.

Liberty Bligh, the Libertie Project

The Libertie Project is a women-led micro social enterprise based in Inverness. The team provide a range of creative and digital services to help people who are disabled or disadvantaged to upskill, improve their life chances and progress towards employment.

Dr Roisin Molloy and Julie Brien, TriMedika

Belfast-based TriMedika aims to improve patient care, reduce costs, improve infection control and save nurses time through its innovative medical technology solutions.

The story so far

Following Getty Images’ successful pilot last year across England and Wales, NatWest and Getty Images invited nominations for female business owners to help create a truly representative library of images that champions successful female entrepreneurship.

Jacqueline Bourke, director, creative insights, EMEA, at Getty Images, says: “It has been an absolute privilege reviewing all the submissions of female-led businesses that are navigating through this very challenging times. I can honestly say the judging was extremely tough and every female entrepreneur who has been nominated deserves to be applauded.

“This second phase of the project is a true celebration of the spirit of resilient female entrepreneurship across the UK, and I look forward to representing the winners within the Female Focus Library at Getty Images.”

Check back in the coming weeks, when we will be hearing more from our winners and showcasing our new image library. You can read about the first of the Getty Images cohort of female entrepreneurs – who are leading the way in sectors as diverse as health and well-being, shoe design, farming, recycling and metalworking – below.

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