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As part of our campaign with Getty Images to change the image of female-led entrepreneurship, the founder of two Cardiff-based digital businesses, Big Learning Company and Tramshed Tech, tells her business story.
Last updated: 10 Feb 2021 4 min read
“We need to do more to help attract investment into female-founded businesses and provide diverse role models for the next generation”
Louise Harris left a full-time teaching role in 2010 to set up Big Learning Company, which continues to deliver digital and tech training to young people and teachers, with a focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). After great success upskilling thousands of learners, she went on to found a co-working space in Cardiff, Tramshed Tech, to act as a growth platform to help roll out business support and digital training within the tech industry. Tramshed Tech now operates a network of spaces across Wales, with partner spaces in the UK and Europe. It has also supported the growth of a network of start-ups and scaling tech companies in Wales with international reach and global growth ambitions.
Continuing to trade successfully in 2020 presented many new challenges for the Tramshed team, says Harris, but “a global financial crisis, Brexit and political turmoil all combined have not been as challenging as Covid”.
“The most difficult thing is the lack of visibility, not having clear anchor points,” she says. “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.”
Asked what her standout business memory has been so far, Harris cites a brush with the stars. “As a LEGO Education partner company, we have worked with learners across the world to inspire their digital and technology learning. One of our proudest moments was when, after returning from his groundbreaking journey into space, renowned European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake came to speak to young people and businesses at Tramshed Tech as part of his ambassadorial work for the Prince’s Trust. To see such an amazing innovator enthusing so many people, packed into a space we had created, was so encouraging and made us very proud of our progress.”
“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” Louise Harris, co-founder, Tramshed Tech
To other women thinking of starting their own business, Harris says: “Don’t wait for the ‘right time’ to start a business. 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: 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.”
Harris says it “means so much” to be involved in the bank and Getty Images’ Female Focus #BeTheRoleModel initiative “as I think it is fantastic that they are taking the lead in highlighting the great work of women in business.
“We have started to make progress in championing female entrepreneurs in the UK but we have still so much further to go, so every little step is helping more and more women launch their ideas and innovations.
“We also need to do more to highlight the work of women in business from all sectors and industries to help attract more investment into female-founded businesses and provide diverse role models for the next generation of women in business.”
NatWest and Getty Images have 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. You can find out more details, including how to enter, here. Terms and Conditions apply.
Louise Harris of Tramshed Tech continued to trade throughout a challenging 2020. She adapted her business proposition to increase her digital offering and has continued to grow and expand her audience with an agile approach.