Female-led network helps 130 businesses through pandemic

  • Date

    Tue 11 Jan 22

Emma Johnson

A ground-breaking female-led business network has defied the pandemic and helped more than 130 businesswomen launch disruptive tech companies in under a year.

The Angels@Essex - Female Founders and Investors has expanded rapidly since launching in May and has been labelled “amazing” by members.

Operating out of the University of Essex it helps connect start-ups with the right investors as well as address the specific needs of women in business.

Members are regularly in contact and a series of seminars, conferences and casual events have helped unite the close-knit team.

One of the success stories is Emma Johnson who has secured funding for her holiday let business Bidnstay.

After working for more than a decade in the industry she launched her start-up which will connect buyers with unsold holiday rentals.

Talks are afoot with major players in the industry and the University of Essex has also issued a convertible loan of £20,000 to support the tech firm.

Emma said: “It’s great to have that community of like-minded people, it’s a really nerve-wracking time when you are starting out in business and it’s amazing to have that support.

“There’s no doubt about it, females seem to operate slightly differently to guys, and it is nice to have that network to lean on a little bit.

“It’s also great to keep in touch with what’s out there as you can miss opportunities when you are fixated on the day-to-day running of the business.

“John Stenhouse and the Angels@Essex team are really helpful, and I appreciate his advice and the way he just thinks of you – he has been a huge help to me.

“The support of the University gave me confidence when I was speaking to investors to get my first round of funding and they are always happy to give me helpful contacts, guidance and advice.”

The network also embraces the Investing in Women Code.

This is a commitment to support the advancement of female entrepreneurship in the United Kingdom by improving female entrepreneurs' access to tools, resources, and finance from the financial services sector.

Over the next year, the network will look to expand its operations to help more women make their first steps in the business world.

Business Support Manager John Stenhouse urged any interested firms to get in touch and get the support they need.

He said: “Raising investment for early seed stage innovative ideas is never easy, when they are led by female entrepreneurs there is an unconscious bias from investors.

“We aim to break that mould and challenge current thinking with our radical approach to matching investors with opportunities using our free Angels@Essex platform, having facilitated over £16m equity investment this year we are making a difference.”

Anyone interested in joining Angels@Essex - Female Founders and Investors should contact us via email