Being Women in Business

Posted on 20 May 2022

A little while ago, we had a chat with the lovely Heather from Local Discovery Card as part of our Guest Speaker series. We thoroughly enjoyed chatting with her, and we had a lot of very positive feedback from those of you who joined in and watched our conversation live. A lot of that feedback related to Heather’s optimistic and inspiring outlook on life, as a woman and a mum while running a small business.

Heather shared some great insight into her personal experiences and her thoughts on her journey with Local Discovery Card, and we felt that they not only resonated with us, but with many of our customers and friends too.

We wanted to reflect on our own experiences as young women in business, and what and who inspires us.

“Women especially are really hard on themselves”

Although times have changed and society has become more progressive, we still see too many women making sacrifices regarding their careers and aspirations due to financial pressures, childcare commitments and household responsibilities. This is something that some feminists refer to as a ‘Triple Shift’. Taking on this triple shift can make it a challenge for women to find the time and the opportunity to be able to do things for themselves, and to start new business adventures.

“Life’s too short not to try something”

According to a recent analysis, there has been a 59% increase in the number of female-owned SMEs and micro-businesses between 2018-2022. However, there are still many challenges facing entrepreneurial women, many of whom have experienced sexism as a business owner, and one in five also having experienced unequal access to opportunities; over 90% of female entrepreneurs say that gender inequality is still a big issue in business.

The pandemic was a testing and scary time for a lot of us, and to start a business during this time takes guts, self-belief and hard work. However, Heather knew that the local community needed a lift, and so she took it upon herself to set up Local Discovery Card, in order to support the small businesses in the area, and create a virtual network in an isolating and lonely time.

Berries Unlocked is a young, female-led micro business, and we are so proud of how far our business has come since Ariana set up a little road-side stall back in 2017. However, we could not have done it without the support and encouragement of other strong, hard-working women.

If you’re a woman thinking about starting a new adventure or setting up a business here’s some advice from Heather and many other inspiring women:

  • Be your own cheerleader! Never feel like you don’t deserve to be seen or heard.
  • Follow your gut - trust your instincts.
  • Surround yourself with a supportive network, and look after yourself.
  • Don’t be scared to fail! Something is only a failure if you don’t learn something.

An ode to Beata, from Ariana

When asked about an inspiring woman in my life, I’m sure I’m not the only one that immediately thinks of their mum. I’m also sure I’m not the only one that believes their mum is the greatest, but that’s not going to stop me from trying to convince you that mine truly is. I’ve decided to keep it to five simple but powerful reasons.

  1. She is the most supportive wife out there.

Mum managed to keep a long-distance relationship with Dad whilst studying for her exams in Hungary, and then was willing to move to the UK and start a new life with a driven (sometimes overwhelmingly driven) entrepreneurial husband. Over the years, she supports many of the staff, goes to various events, and you will often find her picking rubbish out of the farm’s hedgerows on the weekend.

  1. She’s living in her second language.

She not only re-took her medical exams to qualify to be a paediatrician in the NHS in her second language, but continues to live, work and play in a different country. I’ve only been away from home for 6 months, in an english-speaking country, and still I miss it. Too impressive.

  1. She has her own career (and soon-to-be Masters title!)

No stay-at-home life for Beata. Not that she wouldn’t be good at that either, but she works in Cheltenham and Gloucester hospitals for days on end, putting in so much more time and effort than the credit she is given. On top of her job, she is currently studying for her Masters in Clinical Neurodevelopmental Science at King's College London (I checked). Anyone that has done any university degree, let alone a Masters, knows the time and dedication that goes into studying. Now picture it alongside 200 patients, a 17-year-old son, a 21-year-old daughter, and a husband. She’s the smartest person I know. Get her on the topic of ADHD and you’ve sealed yourself in for a few hours.

  1. She has children.

Enough said really. I’m not a mother and I know it’s one of the hardest jobs out there. Who knows the number of hockey matches and riding competitions attended, dinners cooked, clothes washed, essays read, arguments endured and trips driven. A superwoman.

  1. She is passionate, kind and determined, all at once.

It’s exhausting just watching her. Being a good friend, doctor, wife, mother and still being kind-hearted? Not sure how she does it, and tell me what man can do it without turning grumpy. And yet she still manages to put a smile on your face when you’re feeling down, will play the piano at your concert, go for coffee when she really does not have the time, and yes, fill the Berries Unlocked machine if no one else is around to do it. And it doesn’t look like she’s stopping any time soon.

Thank you, mum. You truly are inspiring. For me and for all women out there. You’re doing us proud.