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Today is International Women’s Day and we at Tech City UK not only want to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, but the technological achievements too.
That’s why we’ve decided to showcase some of the female trailblazers in the UK tech scene that are showing us all how it’s done. From CEOs and founders to entrepreneurs and forward-thinkers, Tech City UK wants to highlight just a few of the women taking strides towards making the tech industry in this country more innovative – and inclusive.
It’s a well-known fact that there aren’t enough women in the tech industry – just 17% of those working in tech in the UK are female – and so we want to give a few of these women the recognition they deserve.
And remember, International Women’s Day might just be for today but #WomenInTech are needed every single day.
Marta is the General Manager and Co-founder of money transfer startup Azimo. She founded the company with three others and describes herself as a ‘Tech entrepreneur, proud migrant and diversity advocate’ on her LinkedIn profile. Marta was recognised by Forbes 30Under30 in 2016 and by the Evening Standard in London’s Most Influential People in 2017.
Since Azimo launched in late 2012, it has allowed customers to send money to banks, payout locations, mobile phones and home delivery in 190 countries around the world and is trusted by more than 1,000,000 users worldwide.
Wendy was a Partner at BGF Ventures, a General Partner at Entrepreneur First and Co-founder and CEO of Moonfruit.
She is also a board trustee for The Alan Turing Institute, member of the Government Digital Advisory Board and has been on the board of Tech City UK since 2015.
Wendy was awarded an MBE for services to technology and business in 2016 and continues to share her advice on some of key challenges related to the rollercoaster that is scaling a digital business.
Michelle is the CEO and Co-founder of Peanut, a matchmaking app for like-minded mothers, and previously worked as deputy CEO at the largest and fastest growing social network Badoo. Peanut’s website states that they’re ‘on a mission to build a community of women, who happen to be mamas. Because let’s face it, the more women in your life, the better it becomes.’
As a new mother, Michelle felt isolated and alone and told The Independent that she decided to transform her frustration into an opportunity and launch her own social networking app. Since its launch a year ago, Peanut now has a userbase of 300,000 mothers who have swiped profiles over 19 million times and sent more than a million messages to each other.
Sarah describes herself as an ‘accidental entrepreneur’ on her LinkedIn. She is the CEO and Co-founder of video ad tech company Unruly and has even written a book entitled Stepping Up: Accelerate your leadership potential, which is a breakthrough leadership manifesto which urges peoples to transform business culture for the better.
Not only this, Sarah received the Champion of Women Award in 2017 as well as CEO of the year at TechCrunch’s Europas Awards night and even an OBE in the Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours list.
Joanna Shields, Baroness Shields OBE
Joanna is a ‘tech industry pioneer’ and the founder of WeProtect, a movement to end the sexual exploitation of children online. She is the Former Minister for Internet Safety and Security, and a Life peer in the House of Lords. Joanna was also appointed as the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Internet Safety in September of last year.
Have we also mentioned that she was once the CEO and Chair of Tech City UK? During her tenure, she launched a number of successful initiatives including the Tech Nation Report, Digital Business Academy and Future Fifty programme.
Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon
Anne-Marie is the CEO and Co-founder of Stemettes, a social enterprise which encourages girls aged between 5–22 years old to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, or STEM. She was also awarded an MBE for her services to Young Women and STEM Sectors as a part of the 2017 New Years Honours List, aged just 27.
Anne-Marie told Mercedez Benz that the biggest challenge she faces is: “Showing young girls how to approach scientific challenges with confidence. They have to understand that they are just as good at maths as boys, and that these skills can open the door to many fantastic professional opportunities. It’s important to me that the girls stick together so that they shed all of their inhibitions.”
Emily Brooke is the CEO and founder of Blaze, a startup that created an innovate bike light which projects a laser image of a bicycle ahead to warn motorists. Since then, she has raised £1m in investment for her product which now exports to 65 countries and has been awarded an MBE for services to the economy and transport.
Initially, Emily crowdfunded to get her idea off the ground and managed to raise £55,000 via Kickstarter. After that, Sir Richard Branson heard about the Blaze Laserlight through his children and invested in the product and she became an Upscale company through Tech City UK’s programme.
Despite her invention, Emily still doesn’t see herself as an entrepreneur, telling the BBC that she thinks of herself as a “a crazy, optimistic and driven person, fortunate enough to be making her vision a reality”.
There are, of course, so many more women working in the tech industry who deserve to be mentioned but these are just a few that inspire us here. Who are some of the women that inspire you? Let us know.
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