Women Founders and Investors sparking change within the Northern Powerhouse

by Charlotte Scott|10th November 2018

Globally less than 10% of funding goes to women-led businesses, and in the UK 2.17% of funding went to women in 2016. – Pitchbook

We also know that women investors are more likely to back female start ups. UKBAA 2018

Not for profit business catalyst NorthInvest are attracting and supporting a vibrant network of highly competent and experienced female entrepreneurs and investors who are keen to transform the North’s tech ecosystem. Twenty visionary, resilient and dynamic women founders and investors joined us for a highly engaged and informative session on November 8th for our latest Women Founders and Investors event.  The room was filled with thought-provoking discussion on the latest set of challenges and celebrations within women led business and investment opportunities in the Northern Powerhouse.

Specially selected experts Victoria Tomlinson Co-founder of Next-Up and Irene Arrata Innovation consultant at Driad Ltd offered tips and business stories that shaped and focused attendees mindsets to accelerate their business growth. Topics up for discussion included leveraging LinkedIn the biggest search engine for business to secure business contracts by focusing on developing an ‘engagement pod’ of business influences on your social media channels to propel your business to your next level.

 Victoria’s’ top tips on leveraging LinkedIn to win business included:

  • Start by asking – what do I want my LinkedIn profile to achieve?  Who am I targeting for what – and what will they be interested in or ‘buy’ from me?
  • Think of words that these people might search for you, or people like you, with – use these keywords in your professional headline and summary
  • Make sure everything you do on LinkedIn is building your brand – the articles you post, the comments you make. Build a picture around your expertise. Think of a key influencer within your field and think whether they would be interested in reading and sharing what you post.
  • And the final tip – LinkedIn now only shares articles with 20% of your network.  UNLESS in the first hour after posting it gets shares and comments (likes don’t count). Then it goes wider.  So build an ‘engagement pod’ of people who help each other with comments and shares when you have a post that you really want to build maximum impact and go wide.

The need to craft a personal summary that  tells your story and encompasses your core values was demonstrated by a quick look at everyones LinkedIn profiles. A perfectly, practical way to see how someone who has not met you before can offer a fresh perspective.

Innovation consultant Irene Arrata from Driad Ltd a consultancy firm, that to date has been successful in securing £28 million in funding for start-ups and SMEs in England and France discussed her top tips for making fund applications.


How to write a winner application (in a nutshell):

  • Start early: it can take up to a year before you get the funding, so don’t wait until you run out of money to apply for a grant.
  • Check eligibility: make sure to thoroughly read the eligibility conditions before you start!
  • Treat grant writing as a project: gather all the information you need at the beginning, set yourself deadlines for drafts and corrections.
  • Be graphic: a proof-reader will have 2 to 3 hours to read and assess your application – make sure they can very easily get a clear picture, literally.
  • Use consultants: grant writing is an art in itself – we have built a career around mastering it!

Conversation soon turned to managing teams, focusing on leadership and finding funding opportunities.

What makes every event so special is the feeling of camaraderie and mentorship that comes so naturally amongst our women founders and investors. Everyone has something to say that inspires and helps a fellow business owner. NorthInvest have set themselves an ambitious goal to grow diversity within the Northern Powerhouse and the success of this event is testament to how positive and engaged our networks are. We look forward to seeing you at our next Women Founders and Investors Event on January 24th where we will be discussing hiring and keeping talent,RSVP here.

NorthInvest are also partnering with UKBAA and Growth Capital Ventures on November 12th to  focus on Angel investing and how we can work together to help more women get involved in Angel Investment across the Northern Powerhouse region. This event seeks to explore the untapped pool of investment from industry – leading women to back entrepreneurs. Register here.


Future Events


January 24th: Our next Women Founders and Investors Event is now live on Eventbrite!

November 12th: UKBAA Women Angels Forum is looking for women interested in Angel Investing/ or who are already Angel investors to join us in Leeds


Victoria Tomlinson- Next-Up

November 20th: Victoria Tomlinson is hosting the Next-Up conference

Find out more about Next-Up here.


Irene Arrata- Driad Ltd

December 5th: Driad are hosting an event: All I want for Christmas is funding for my innovation project

You can also keep a tab on Driad’s blog here.


Special Thanks

Thank you to aql for hosting us!