07 Mar International Women’s Day: what challenges do female entrepreneurs face?
In honour of International Women’s Day, we caught up with the November Start-Up Series winner Not Dogs, to learn more about what co-founders Katie & Jane believe are the hurdles & opportunities female entrepreneurs are faced with.
What inspired you to start your own business?
After more than ten years of joint experience in PR and Marketing, we were feeling a bit stifled as to where our careers were going and feeling like we were not reaching our true potential, dissatisfied with the career paths we were heading towards. We worked together well on some big client campaigns and sitting across from each other one day we started to dream up our ideal futures and realised how working with purpose was such a goal for both of us. Happily everything aligned and naturally fell into place, and since December 2012, we have been proudly carving out our own futures and navigating the highs and lows of forging out our own business.
Which successful female entrepreneurs inspire you?
Holly Tucker who co-founded Not On The High Street and now has a fantastic business Holly & Co, Kristina Karlsson from stationery brand Kikki.K and Sara Blakely from Spanx. All of these positive, inspirational entrepreneurs give a real modern perspective of what it means to work tirelessly and relentlessly on your business and the amount of determination and commitment that is required over a matter of years to make things happen. They inspire us every day with their Instagram posts which give us little reminders that there are many amazing women like us in the same boat.
What would you say are the most common challenges which female entrepreneurs are faced with in today’s world?
Being underestimated. We have been underestimated at every step of our business journey so far. We are each other’s cheerleader, equal in our business partnership and always treat each other as we wish to be treated and make an effort to recognise our achievements which is easier said than done when we’re going at a million miles an hour. Being underestimated isn’t fun but at least we have each other to give a knowing smile to when we know it’s happening! We wrote a blog post ‘Underestimate Me. That’ll Be Fun’ over on our blog By Katie & Jane.
According to a Unilever-commissioned study, 42% of female founders say funding is one of the most challenging barriers when starting a business given that the majority of venture capitalists are men. Do you believe there is inequality in female investment?
There shouldn’t be. It’s that simple. Businesses should be evaluated on the proposition, the market and the people that can drive it ambitiously, whether male or female. In our experience, we’ve not found this to be true for female entrepreneurs, but potentially entrepreneurs in general who are particularly building a non-tech based business.
What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs looking for funding?
To female entrepreneurs – you are equal. But to all entrepreneurs, if you believe in your business, keep going, keep achieving. Nothing should deter you from seeking investment in your business, nothing has ever stopped us from striving forward. We wholeheartedly believe that there should be nothing stopping you in 2018. And to you women… bad luck to the backers who miss out on a fantastic business opportunity because you are female!
What are your growth plans for the future?
Not Dogs is about to expand across the country with a series of pop ups in major retail destinations, theme parks and another Not Dogs fast-casual restaurant… or two! Watch this space 🙂