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Empowering Women Founders: 5 Top Tips From Business Experts

by | Mar 11, 2024

Our coworking space in Brixton is the proud home of more than 200 freelancers, over half of whom are women. So it was really important to us that we celebrate International Women’s Day 2024! We hosted a bumper panel talk and pitch event, inviting creators, entrepreneurs and small business owners to discuss how women founders can grow, scale and sustain their business. 

We love welcoming so many inspiring people to our coworking space in South London – but we know that not everyone can attend our events in person. So to share the love and spread the wisdom, we’ve put together this blog post featuring the top five tips shared by the business experts who formed the incredible panel at our Empowering Women Founders event. So if you’re looking for advice on how to grow your business, overcome challenges and stay resilient, scroll down! 

About Our Business Experts


We welcomed Zoe Holland, CEO of Zing Learning Ltd; Andry Anastasis McFarlane, Founder of The Learning Moment; Rachael Palmer, General Manager of Impact Brixton and CEO of BlackMaven CIC; Ning Ma, Founder of Mamalan and Creator of Tea Joy; and Samantha Kidjo, Incubator Manager at Startup Discovery School. Bringing a wealth of experience across a wide range of sectors, including in both B2B and B2C capacities, they formed an expert panel prepared to give tips and advice to the founders gathered. 

Alongside our incredible panel, we also welcomed four women founders to pitch their brilliant businesses. Toluwa Oyeleye pitched Zoah Consultancy Ltd, a specialist firm with a global footprint, prioritising transformative leadership through behavioural change. Ifeoma Igwe pitched Mylitcorner, an entertainment company on a mission to make writing profitable for writers. Kaia Garcia pitched T.H.E Network, an organisation aimed at building unifying structures and systems of communication, awareness and connection among people, businesses and organisations in sprawling cities such as London. 

And the winner of our pitching event, Michelle Adams, won six months of coworking at Impact Brixton along with a bunch of other perks for her amazing business Chatty Cats Care, a large network of friendly and professional cat-sitters operating all over London. 

It was a joy to welcome so many inspiring women founders to our coworking space in London, and hear about their journeys, overcoming challenges to smash the glass ceiling and grow their businesses. 


Five Top Tips For Entrepreneurs 

The five women founders making up our expert panel have amassed a huge range of experience across a number of different industries. They’ve worked in the corporate world, branched out into the charitable sector, delivered products straight to consumers and been the lead supplier for a range of global brands. So it’s safe to say they had a lot of wisdom to share with our audience of creators, entrepreneurs and small business owners!

We’ve distilled their incredible advice into five top tips that you can take with you on your entrepreneurial journey. 

1. Know When To Pivot – But Stay True To Your Mission

If your business takes off, you’re going to spend a lot of time working on it. This especially applies to those early days, when you’re getting more and more work but you don’t yet have the cashflow to take on more employees. A report by Bizdaq found that entrepreneurs are working an average of 50.5 hours per week, compared to the UK average of 37 hours. So you need to make sure that you really believe in your mission! 

But staying true to your mission doesn’t mean that you refuse to pivot. If your product isn’t working, it doesn’t make any sense to stick with it. You won’t be the first to find that your idea isn’t as successful as you thought it would be – check out these famous companies that drastically redesigned their businesses to succeed. 

If your business isn’t working, you might find that you need to circle back to the problem you were originally trying to solve with your product. Is your product in its current form really the best way to solve that problem? If it’s not selling, the chances are that it probably isn’t. So take some time to go back to the drawing board. Stick to your mission, but find a different way to go about it – you might find that you get a lot further! 

2. Persist Sustainably 

Yes, you’re a kick-ass entrepreneur with a dazzling dream and the sheer determination to make it happen. But you’re also a person – and just like everyone else, you need to sleep, rest, eat and relax. 

It’s no secret that starting your own business is going to take a lot of work, from developing products to finding clients to managing your finances. But you’re not going to be able to do any of that work if you’re burnt out. So while our panel definitely advise you to persist, they also advise that you do that in a way that you can sustain. Running a business requires stamina – big bursts of energy followed by brutal bouts of burnout will only lead to you struggling to offer your clients a consistently brilliant experience. And you’re much too important to burnout anyway! 

So next time you’re tempted to put in the overtime, remember that taking care of yourself is the best way to take care of your business. 

3. Be Careful With Funding

A question each of our panellists often gets asked is where founders can find funding. And while there’s no straightforward answer to this, as funding comes from a lot of different pots accessible to varying kinds of enterprises, one thing our panel did advise is to be careful who you accept funding from. 

There’s no such thing as free money, and any funding you accept might come with the expectation that the organisation who is funding you has a say in your creative vision, or what exactly it is that you do with the money. And you may find that there is a lot of reporting that you need to do in order to account for where the money has been spent. We’ve definitely found in the past that this can take up a lot of time – and sometimes the time we spend reporting costs us almost as much as the funding we received! 

Ultimately, it’s awesome to be offered money for your business. And in most cases, you’ll just be able to say ‘thank you very much’ and take it. But it’s worth taking a moment just to make sure that you really understand the requirements that are attached to that money. 

4. Choose Your Battles

If you’re a woman entrepreneur, or a small business owner from the Global Majority, the chances are that you’ve come up against some prejudice during your time in business. Maybe it’s a man talking over you, maybe it’s someone important mistaking you for the secretary when you’re actually the CEO. Whatever it is, it’s – rightly – sure to have irritated you. 

And while our panel didn’t condone any of this behaviour, they did point out that calling out microaggressions and biases costs you precious time and energy. And the best way to manage this, is to pick your battles. 

The next time you’re faced with behaviour that needs correction, ask yourself how much you will benefit from calling it out in the moment. One of our panellists spoke about a time that she realised the man who was cutting her off in a meeting would persist whether she corrected him or not. So she decided to save her energy in the moment and write an email outlining her thoughts to the people in the room later. She avoided a confrontation, succeeded in getting her point across – and in doing so, allowed the man to make himself look foolish by not letting anyone else speak (sometimes, there are hidden perks to letting things slide in the moment!). 

5. Grow Your Network

No woman is an island. All of our expert panellists use our coworking space here at Impact Brixton, and all of them had been able to grow their business as a result. 

One of our amazing panellists got together with some freelancers she met at Impact Brixton to design and co-deliver a programme that was featured in a live stream to 12000 people all over the globe. Two of our brilliant panellists took advantage of Impact Brixton’s affordable private office space to grow their teams and complete larger projects. And all of them connect and collaborate with other freelancers and creatives in our coworking space to deliver projects – whether that’s contracting a copywriter, hiring a videographer, linking up with a web designer or getting excellent PR advice. 

So their advice to entrepreneurs is to put themselves in spaces where they can grow a network of like-minded individuals. Not only can it lead to extra work and exciting partnerships, but it will also mean that you have a support network to fall back on when times are tough. It’s hard being a small business owner. But it’s easier if you’ve got a community!

Interested in joining Impact Brixton?

There are tons of ways to get involved with the Impact Brixton community. If you’re looking for a friendly and welcoming coworking space, you can get unlimited access to our coworking space on weekdays for just £150 per month. If you’re not quite at the point where you need a coworking space, but you could do with a professional registered business address for your company, you can get a virtual office at Impact Brixton for just £12.50 per month. And if you’re just looking for an opportunity to meet like-minded people, make sure you sign up to our newsletter to be the first to hear about our upcoming events! And if you’re looking for a chance to try out Impact Brixton for free… 

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