High Society Investors Editor's Choice,Politics 2022’s most inspiring female founders revealed

2022’s most inspiring female founders revealed



100 of the UK’s most inspiring female entrepreneurs have been named by Small Business Britain, in a line-up that reflects the phenomenal contribution to society, economy and communities that many female founders are making across the UK.

 
From a quantum computer entrepreneurs, and vegan fruit farm owners, to sustainability start-ups and inclusive fashion founders, this year’s f:Entrepreneur ‘#ialso100’ campaign celebrates the growing tide of inspiring, resilient and multi-achieving female entrepreneurs that lead businesses alongside a roster of other responsibilities, such as volunteering, mentoring and community support. 
 
Now in its fifth year, the growing campaign attracted a record number of applications for this year’s ‘#ialso100’ line-up, reflecting how mission-driven female entrepreneurs continue to flourish despite the challenges of the past years, with many scaling or starting new ventures.
 
Indeed, research undertaken by the campaign last year signalled a strong entrepreneurial outlook among women. Almost one fifth of women in the UK reported considering starting their own businesses, and two fifths said they were motivated to turn a passion into a business.
 
Delivered by Small Business Britain – the leading champion of small businesses in the UK –  f:Entrepreneur was launched in 2017 to highlight the stories of amazing female business owners and help provide inspiration and role models across the wider small business community. The campaign offers a host of events, training, and networking opportunities to boost skills, capability, and confidence. 
 
Among this year’s 100 line-up is private-chef service entrepreneur Heinin Zhang, former banker Purdey Collier who founded TingTang ‘dry wash shampoo’ to help vulnerable people wash effectively, and Ruby Raut, owner of WUKA, a sustainable period pants brand. 
 
Many of the businesses featured in this year’s campaign also demonstrate a huge commitment to the environment by championing sustainability.
 
For example, Celia Gaze transformed a neglected and disused agricultural operation into a quirky wedding and event venue, which has been called out for its carbon-neutral credentials. And Maya Harruna, co-founded No Guilt Bakes with a huge focus on social and environmental responsibility.
 
“The brilliant female entrepreneurs featured in this year’s #ialso100 are nothing short of phenomenal,” said Michelle Ovens. 
“All over the UK incredible women are running businesses with a huge sense of mission and passion behind them. They are adding value to society and the economy, while supporting their communities and peers. It is so vital that we recognise and celebrate the powerful contribution of women running businesses across the UK. The last few years have been hugely challenging for small businesses, yet despite this female entrepreneurship continues to grow and flourish in the UK. We must continue to nurture and protect this spirit, as these businesses will undoubtedly be at the heart of driving the UK’s recovery.” Ovens added 

Ada Obioha

Runs ADAVIRTUAL Business Support in Crawley (South East), which provides virtual administration for small businesses. Alongside this, Ada mentors aspiring female entrepreneurs and young people, as well as supporting the Chailey Heritage Foundation, which supports children and young people with complex neuro-disabilities.

Alex Preston

Runs The Bottle Top, a general store and café in Nottingham (East Midlands) which specialises in sustainable drinks solutions and craft beer, employing 8 people who have not been in work before. Alex also volunteers in her local community group and mentors young entrepreneurs. 

Alison Rogers

Co-founded London-based Toothbuckle with her daughter Roz, an oral care sustainable health and beauty brand selling vegan and fully recyclable toothbrushes and covers.

Amber Badger

Founded The Wild Wordsmith, a copywriting agency based in Southampton (South) specialising in stories for free-spirited brands. Amber also runs a second business Lila Retreats, which offer creative wellbeing retreats.

Anita James

Runs The Business Exchange South West, an independent business-to-business publishing company covering Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and Somerset. Alongside this, Anita is involved in community activity from setting up local award schemes to supporting local charities. 

Beata Molnar

Founder of Wast0, the first zero waste shop in Witney (South East) selling eco friendly and refillable food and household products. Beata is also a mechanical engineer working in manufacturing and is also a bookkeeper. 

Brigitte Le Bouller-Spotten 

Runs The Puffin Gallery in Ballycastle (Northern Ireland) that promotes the work of more than 30 artists, with the aim of helping both emerging and established artists. Brigitte is also an artist herself.

Cathy Frost

Runs Loveone, independent high street retailer based in Ipswich (East of England).  Cathy has supported and mentored new businesses and creatives for over 14 years. She is an advocate for business collaboration and has set up a community CIC to help attract funding for her local high street. 

Catrin MacDonnell

Co-founder of Jones & Modha, a natural eau de parfum made in Somerset (South West), which uses natural plant oils and minimal packaging. 2.5% of profits are donated to environmental charities. Catrin also co-founded Papadeli, an award winning deli, catering business and cookery school.

Cecily Henderson

Co-founder of PomPom which sells imaginative and unusual toys, gifts and homeware for babies and children. All products are 100% plastic free and PomPom annually donates to the Marine Conservation Society and plants a tree for every customer review. 

Celia Glaze

Founded The Wellbeing Farm in Bolton (North West) which she transformed from a neglected agricultural operation to a an award-winning sustainable and carbon neutral wedding and event venue. Celia is also an author and an ambassador for The Burnt Chef Project which is committed to making the hospitality profession more sustainable.

Claire Campbell-Adams

Based in Wales, Claire runs Mum’s Shoulders, a membership community for mums with mental health and neurodiversity issues to discuss in a safe space, an idea born out of Claire’s own anxiety and depression. Alongside this, Claire runs a property business, a laser distribution business and is studying for a degree in psychology.

Clare Griffiths

Founder of Thrive, a social enterprise based in Brighton (South) on a mission to help female founders grow their small businesses. Clare is passionate about reducing gender equality within the business support industry.

Claudia Fallah

A skincare expert and aesthetic specialist based in London, Claudia Fallah has her own range of award-winning Cosmeceutical products. Alongside this, is a Safe Neighbourhood Watch volunteer and works closely with the police and local council to create a safer environment. 

Dani McFerran

Founded Done and Dusted Design in Belfast (NI) a multi-disciplinary design studio, with two satellite offices in Manhattan NYC and Dubai. Dani also volunteers at Childline and is a mentor in Women in Business.

Deborah Breen

Runs Wilde Mode in Dundee (Scotland), a gender inclusive, zero waste, slow fashion brand that focuses on sustainable fashion. Deborah founded the business on the recovery of her mental breakdown in 2015 when she started sewing for therapy and now sits on the panel of the Women’s Business Station in Scotland.

Diane Watson

Based in Wakefield (Yorkshrie) Diane set up She Can Prosper, at the age of 62 with the aim of empowering women over 40 to achieve financial success. Alongside this, Diane is involved with various charities and support groups.

Dr Ilana Wilby

Founded Oxford Quantum Circuits (South East) which builds quantum computers to help its customers do things from make life-changing drug discoveries to developing new battery technologies. She is one of only a few women to have a PhD in quantum and is an advocate for women in STEM.

Drew Rogers

Runs My Language Lab based in London which empowers learners to speak ‘real-life languages’ in a way that is informative and engaging.

Dulcie Swanston

Runs Top Right Thinking, based in Walsall (West Midlands) an umbrella business for four coaching companies. Dulcie works with individuals on 1:1 basis, right up to multinationals.

Ellen Cole

Founder of Little Seed Group, based in Yorkshire, which is a disability-led agency that provides marketing, PR and social media services. Ellen is involved in public speaking to highlight the benefit of working with people who think differently and also to help businesses make their social media content more accessible. Ellen also runs a not-for profit hedgehog education programme.

Ellie Jackson

Ellie is a children’s author who writes true stories for primary and preschool children about environmental issues such as plastic pollution and climate change. The books are the bestselling series of books covering these issues. 

Ellie McBride

Founder of Calibrated Concepts, which helps women in business create custom websites. Ellie also hosts a podcast and group called The Capable Collective which aims to help women and non-binary people support each other in running their businesses. 

Emma McClelland

Runs Kintsugi Clothing based in Stockport (North West), that creates accessible womenswear with input from the disabled community to ensure each piece adds value to this demographic. Emma also works as a freelance content creator and works for an employment rights charity. 

Emma Wreyford

Runs Chandos Atelier in Bristol (South West) which offers creativity and art sessions for all ages. Alongside this, Emma is actively involved in bettering her local area.
Fiona Minett                                   
Founder of Boss Your PR, which supports entrepreneurs in growing their business through powerful PR. Fiona also hosts her own podcast, The PR Spotlight.

Franchine Young

Founder of Franchine Young Ireland (NI), which is a collection of skincare products intended to offer an alternative approach to skincare, particular for those going through hormonal changes. The brand is certified organic and currently free, and was founded after Franchine struggled with her skin during the menopause.

Harri Helvon-Hardy

Founder of FABRIC: The Care Leavers’ Community, a social enterprise group based in Port Talbot (Wales) whose vision is to empower the lives of a million young people. FABRIC Support Services provides homes to young people aged 16 and over who are Looked After/ Care Leavers/ Care Experienced or Homeless.

Heinin Zhang

Founder of YHANGRY based in London, which offers private cheffing. All menus are optimised for food waste, reusing ingredients across dishes.

Helen Rogers

Founder of Highgate Honey, a small beekeeping company based in North London producing high-quality honey and running honey tasting workshops. Helen is also a consultant Structural Engineer and an expert in working on cantilever stone stairs. 

Henriette Danel 

Henriette is a Strategic Business Coach working primarily with female entrepreneurs from all over the world to help them attract more clients. She is also a public speaker and podcast host.

Isabella Day Goldsmith

Isabella is a goldsmith and art jeweller based in Devon (South West). She sues rare Japanese kinko engraving techniques. Alongside this, Isabella is a film maker.

Ismay Ruth Mummery

Founder of Boy Wonder, (East Midlands) a sustainable boy’s fashion brand which uses organic cotton and chemical-free prints. Ismay is the widowed mum of an 11-year-old boy who is the inspiration behind the brand.

Jacynth Bassett

Founder of The Bias Cut, based in West Sussex (South East) an age-inclusive multi-label premium womenswear online shopping platform, that aims the way for social change and challenging ageism in the fashion industry. Jacynth is a recognised ‘Ageism-Fighting Trailblazer.’ 

Jen Blackwell

Founder of Dance Syndrome, an inclusive dance charity based in Lancashire (North West). It offers dance workshops for people with and without disabilities as well as leadership training. Jen has Down’s syndrome and has followed her dream of being a dancer.

Jenny Blyth

Runs Storm In A Teacup Gifts, a gift business based in North London that specialises in finding unique and quirky items, as well as a community group for shopping , chats and general support. Jen also hosts a ‘Saturday Showcase’ which allows other small business to show off their businesses. 

Jenny Connor

Runs Dalton Moor Farm, a 24-acre vegan fruit farm and School of Sustainable Living and Wellbeing in East County Durham (North East). She produces juices, cider and fruit preserves which she sells locally and across the UK.

Jo Baker                            

Founder of the Collar Club, a sustainable business providing curated subscription boxes for dogs. A percentage of Collar Club sales goes towards their collars for shelters project and Jo is an ambassador for sustainability in business. 

Jo Bevilacqua

Founder of Serenity Loves, an award-winning hair and beauty salon in Peterborough (East of England). Jo is also a published author and mentor and supports fellow small business owners through her JVB Mentoring business.

Jo-Anne Shellum

Founder of Noah’s Star based in the West Midlands, a charity that supports premature and sick babies and their families, founded based on Jo-Anne’s lived experience and in memory of her son Noah.

Joanne Allen

Runs Your Story Content Creation, a Lincolnshire-based (East Midlands) copywriting business. Joanne is also in the process of developing a woodland to create a fully sustainable staycation experience.

Julia Colan

Founded Secret Whispers, a dumbbell for women’s pelvic floor. Secret Whispers in on a mission to reduce the number of women suffering with pelvic floor conditions.

Justine Page

Runs Green Earth Learning in Essex (South East) which aims to encourage children to get outside in nature through outdoor learning programmes. Justine makes handmade nature gifts and is also a Brownie Leader.

Katie Cohen

Runs It’s Our Planet Too, an educational brand based in Hove (South) that aims to inspire children to care for the environment. They have recently launched a range of sustainable products.

Kate Johnson

Founder of Highball Cocktails, a range of 0% ready-to-drink cocktails. Highball Cocktails was developed as an alternative to adult soft drinks and has recently been awarded two Great Taste Awards.

Kathryn Hibberd-Little

Runs The Mug Tree Tea Room, a family friendly tearoom in West Sussex which was voted the UK’s best breastfeeding venue 2019/2020 and West Sussex’s most outstanding tea room in 2020.

Katie Matthews

Runs The Mind Tribe UK in Northern Ireland which facilitates mindfulness, growth mindset and resilience workshops for parents, educators and businesses. It is Northern Ireland’s first dedicated Growth Mindset Course providers.

Katie Skelton

Founder of Little Green Duck based in Dorset (South West) which unites and uplifts business owners with purpose and sustainability at its heart. Katie also runs The Duck Pond, a membership and community for ethical business owners that provides training and resources. 

Kaylee Herbert

One of the owners of Harlees fish and chips, a family run business run by 3rd and 4th generations across Dorset and Wiltshire (South West). Kaylee is member of the Dorset chamber of commerce and is part of the LGBT+ community and is dedicated to improving diversity in business. 

Kerry Mackay

Founder of Scrubbies, a one-woman business based in Wrexham (Wales) that manufactures a sustainable alternative to the plastic sponge. Kerry started her business after having to use a foodbank for the first time in 2018. 

Kintija Belska

Founder of Everlasting Brows, an award-winning beauty business which evolved from their brand Sleek Brows. Kintija also runs a training academy dedicated to helping people from all backgrounds to receive education.

Kirsty Skeates

Co-founder of Fit4dogsuk, a Canine Hydrotherapy Centre in Beverley (Yorkshire). Kirsty was a swimming teacher before setting up her business. Alongside this she also runs a health food shop for dogs.

Kye Stribling

Runs The Clear Out Store, a sustainable second-hand online store which saves thousands of items from going to landfill each year. She also runs a laundry business, Full Steam Ahead.

Leena Parmar

Founder of Citrus Connect Recruitment, a sales recruitment agency working with clients in all industries and with a focus on sustainability. She also regularly supports her local homeless charity. 

Leila Green

Founder of Known Publishing which helps entrepreneurs convert their expertise in books to help grow their profile and businesses. Leila is also a Reiki healer and a member of a spiritual female entrepreneurs community.

Lesley So

Runs Derbyshire-based So Good Kombucha, a healthy alternative to fizzy drinks made from a family recipe. Lesley is a champion of marginalised communities, particularly refugees and asylum seekers and is a trustee for two local charities. 

Lidia Drzewiecka

Founder of London-based Visuable, a digital brand and web design agency. They offer internships to inexperienced graduates and mentor young entrepreneurs to enable disadvantaged girls to access education.

Louise Brogan

Teaches entrepreneurs and business owners how to use Linkedin for business. She runs regular networking events for business owners in Belfast and donates times to women’s organisations. 

Louise West

Runs Louise West Lace design in Derby, (East Mids) based around bobbin lacemaking. She has also developed innovative laser prepared patterns that she sells worldwide. Additionally, she publishes books, visits groups and produces technique videos. 

Lucia Melillo

Runs Lucia Hair &Beauty Salon in Luton. She has diploma in psychodynamic counselling and runs a practice alongside her salon.

Lucy Griffiths

An income strategist and coach and a former TV presenter who spent 20 years reporting in war zones. Lucy has released her first book and raises money for women who have been sex-trafficked in Nepal and Thailand.

Lucy Kebbell

Founder of WIP, a digital membership platform providing community collaboration and learning resources for small sustainable businesses. She has also founded a sustainable style media platform for sustainable brands and products.

Lyn Morrice

Founder of Glitz & Glamour, a beauty shop, salon, training academy and wholesaler. She is a dedicated small business and sustainability ambassador.

Mairi Hawkes

Founder of Slàinte Sauces, ice cream drizzles for desserts and cocktails. The business was founded after Mairi and her husband returned from Australia to the Isle of Lismore (Scotland).

Maria Ruseva

Founder of Moda de la Maria which produces handmade womenswear using natural materials. Her experience in the fashion industry led her to look for alternatives to fast fashion

Marianne Moore

Runs Justice Studio, a social justice consultancy that works with charities and governments to help them improve. The have worked in over 25 countries internationally. Marianne is also a writer.

Maya Harruna

Co founder of London-based No Guilt Bakes, low carb and keto snacks . Maya is dedicated to enabling individuals to enact change in their day-today habits and has a focus on environmental and social responsibility.

Michelle Jones

Founder of Kind Currency in Newcastle (North East), a start-up CIC, that helps others by creating a circular economy of kindness. It is designed to close the disadvantaged gap and reduce poverty rate by providing opportunities to make kinder choices.

Michelle Leivars

Runs Breedon Perfumery, an independent fragrance bodycare brand based in Oxfordshire (South East) which handmakes everything on site in their high street shop. Michelle has recently also launched a podcast.

Natalie Fletcher

Founder of Mancmade, a micro manufacturer, supplying UK-made clothing accessories and soft-furnishings based in Manchester (North west). Natalie was recently featured in A Portrait of Black Britain exhibition in Manchester. 

Natalie Reynolds

Co founder of Fred & Noah, a luxury baby and children’s clothing brand based in Essex. They have a big focus on sustainability and flexibility. Natalie was inspired to create the brand after having her children. 

Natalie Sherman

Founder of Naturally Social, a social-first communication agency based in Wiltshire with a mission to achieve positive change. They work with businesses and charities across different sectors.

Nina Cockton

Founder of Lady Griddlebone Vintage which refurbishes pre-loved vintage furniture with eco-friendly paints, metal leafing and foils and designer wallpapers. Nina also works part time for the NHS as a clinical psychologist. 

Paola Dyboski-Bryant

Founder of Dr Zigs which manufacture eco-friendly, ethical giant bubble toys in their bubble factory in north Wales. They have won awards for their environmental approach to business.

Paulomi Debnat

Founder of Handmade by Tinni, an award-winning sustainable textile jewellery and home décor brand in the UK.

Petra Tiziani

Co-founder of For Kids and Planet, an online store which aims to bring together a fluid collection conscious kid’s clothes and gifts with a focus on sustainability and quality. Petra also hosts a sustainable podcast. 

Priya Velusami

Founder of London-based Pri Pri, upcycled accessories and kidswear made from preloved saris. Priya is also the founder of social initiative in India who work with Indian women to train them in tailoring.

Purdey Collier

Founder of London-based TingTang, a dry wash shampoo that cleans with no water needed, with many of her customers being elderly or those with a chronic illness. Purdey is also an activist working to change the law to protect children from abusive situations. 

Rachel Conlisk

Founder of Creative Active Lives CIC in the West Midlands, a not-for-profit agency for wellbeing that provide physical and creative activities and workshops. They also put on their own community events for children with additional needs.

Rahel Tesfai

Founder of FroHub, an Afro hair and beauty community and marketplace that helps customers search and book service professionals. Rahel is also a regular volunteer for a non-profit organisation that helps refugees start careers in tech. 

Rebecca Saunders

Founder of London-based Seekology, a platform for independent beauty and wellbeing brands and Rebecca curates every brand that comes onto the platform.

Rhian Thompson

Founder of Bibevie, a baby clothes brand with reinvented bibs so they stay in place. With a focus on sustainability, Bibevie is a pending B Corporation.

Ruby Raut

Founder of London-based WUKA, a sustainable period pants brand that aims to eradicate period shame and encourage inclusivity. WUKA’s designs are made from sustainable fabrics.

Ruby Sweeney 

Founder of The Events Hub, a company that plan, run and organise in-person, virtual, and hybrid events. Ruby is an ambassador for several organisations for women in business and fighting climate change. 

Sara Guiel

Co-founder of Brighton-based My Networking Club, a networking organisation that runs monthly business networking meetings, delivers support and training to its small business community.

Sarah Aird-Mash

Founder of Surrey-based Together Equal, a set of conversation cards aimed to create equality for all by starting conversations surrounding inequalities in society. 100% of profits support the School Together Equal Programme. 

Sarah Bower

Runs Crossbow Translations in Liverpool, a translation and language services for the legal and sports sectors. She also teaches translation to newcomers and runs a popular business mentoring programme.

Sarah Smith

Runs The Dartmoor Artist, a sustainable art and homeware business which makes creative products inspired by the British countryside from a studio in Devon (South West). Sarah has a big focus on sustainability and no waste.

Sarwat Murtaza

Founder of Ethimaart, an online curated gift shop to find affordable handmade crafts and gifts. Ethimaart focuses on being ethical and sustainable.

Sashe Christopher

Founder of Pop My Way, a range of mix-and-match sustainable baby essentials with interchangeable accessories. Sashe is an environmental champion and mentor.

Sophie Cooper

Founder of I Am Denim, based in Hampshire, (South East) inclusive tummy friendly jeans made for men and women after abdominal surgery, scars and pregnancy. Founded after Sophie’s own life-threatening illness. 

Surinder Hothi-Bellamy

Co founder of Pure Punjabi, based in London, a mother and daughter business founded by mother and daughter dedicated to delivering North Indian culinary traditions. They do this through their Indian Cookery school and meal kits. 

Surinder Thomas

Founder of Hiya, an award-winning Indian inspired snack brand featuring chickpea bars made from a family recipe. Surinder is a dedicated champion of female business owners.

Susan Witterick 

Founder of dBx Acoustics, which provides consultancy to clients, such as architects and building contractors. Susan was diagnosed with autism and ADD and is an advocate for autism awareness and neurodiversity in the workplace.

Suzanne Howes

Runs Coaching After Loss which provides 121 coaching support to individuals who have undergone significant life changes. Suzanne is well established in the grief community, an NHS professional and a campaigner for improved mental health.

Tilley Bancroft

Runs Making Trails, based in Burton Upon Trent, (West Midlands) which creates bespoke sculpture and art trails for councils, towns organisations and charities. Making Trails uses recycled and reformed plastics in the sculptures  which are painted by emerging and established artists. 

Tina Chen 

Founder of HumaniTea based in London, vegan tea lattes in recyclable aluminium cans. HumaniTea aims to promote wellbeing and also improve the environment.

Vicki McGowan

Founder of DECA based in London, a diverse media consultancy which helps clients understand their commercial value, ensuring D.E.C.A (Diversity , Equality, Culture, Action) throughout the entire process. 

Victoria Ann Jenkins

Founder of London-based Unhidden Clothing, a sustainable clothing line for people with a disability. Victoria is a garment technologist who became disabled in her 20s and is a disability advocate, speaker, writer and brand ambassador. 

Virginia Cinquemani

Founder of Green Gorilla Consultants in Hertfordshire a coaching and training company focused on empowering sustainability professionals. Virginia is the hub leader for Women in Sustainability Hertfordshire.

Vivian Mora

Runs GeoSmartPro, a London-based start-up aiming to change the way users interact with their home through the creation and innovation of smart home technology. The original product was a smart fan created by Vivian and  her husband in 2018 following the summer heatwave, after struggling to use a normal fan to cool their new born baby.