The Telegraph and NatWest are celebrating 100 women in business
Women who are pushing boundaries, redefining success and most importantly inspiring others. We are shining a spotlight on them to feature in our exclusive ‘100 to Watch’.
From tech and comms to retail and professional services, I am humbled to be commended in the UK’s brightest female founders. Alison Rose, NatWest CEO and a judge for the Highly Commended and Judges’ Choice, notes and celebrates consistent themes across the businesses that entered: a strong commitment to innovation, a social purpose and scaling up. Rose says:
“The ambition and resilience of the business owners came across strongly in the applications. Their successes are remarkable and how they explained they would benefit from being part of The 100 made an impression. I’m confident we have some of the most exciting high potential female-owned businesses included in The 100.”
Part of being on the list of 100 women to watch in the UK, they have offered support and mentorship and it has been a super supportive experience already. I find this level of guidance and approach to backing so reassuring. It is women at their best; supportive, nurturing, open and activated. Yes to more of this-you shine, we shine. Do check out all of the 100 women listed and their businesses- great contacts and a hugely inspiring group.
A big congratulations to the Judge’s Choice, Erim Kaur, founder of ByErim. Below is a bit of her story from the Telegraph;
When a manufacturer laughed at her business plan, hair and beauty entrepreneur Erim Kaur rang him back, this time with a deeper voice and a little more authority, and he agreed to work with her. “At first, none of the small factories I called took me seriously,” she says. “They didn’t get my commercial model – that I was an influencer and I could sell to an online audience. But that day I felt I’d opened the door further for another young woman to walk through with a little more ease.”
Since then, Kaur, 27, has launched hair and beard oil brand ByErim, which has brought in £2.5 million and sold more than 70,000 bottles. Kaur has beautifully long hair but it hasn’t always been this way. At the age of 11, she began losing her hair, prompted by the delayed shock of her mother ‘s death from cancer at the age of eight. Her mother, too, had great hair before cancer treatment took its toll. “I wanted mine to be just like hers. I have a strong emotional connection to hair.”
Together with her grandmother they experimented with essential oils following a secret family recipe. “Rubbing it on my scalp seemed to help it grow back faster and stronger.” Within the Sikh community, says Kaur, people are used to oiling their hair, and many people will mix their own oils at home.
She’s used her online profile – she’s also an influencer and content creator with more than 254,000 followers on Instagram – to launch her brand to a wider audience. “I was prompted by a former client, who said: ‘You know Erim, one day you’re going to have your own brand and do something for yourself.’ And it was never not going to be hair oil. It sort of created itself.”
Like many entrepreneurs, she’s found expanding her team to be tricky but she now has a core staff of 10, mostly working remotely. “I’ve made some bad hires, and some exceptional hires, and I find it difficult when people want to move on. But I’m beginning to realise it’s not a judgement against me. I have a brilliant team.” Being awarded the Judges’ Choice in the 100 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch for 2022, she says, means more than the organisers realise.
“I cried when I heard – I couldn’t believe it. I really believe I need to represent something for young, modern Sikh women – you barely see us in the media but we’re the future. I just felt so proud. I’m just really excited to be able to show everything that we have to the world because I think we deserve it.”
Celebrating stories feels good! Let’s do it more often.