Sussex Innovation

This International Women’s Day, I sat down and interviewed a few of the female members of our team to spotlight their achievements and uncover how we can overcome the challenges faced by female founders.

Female founders and women in business face numerous challenges compared to their male counterparts. What’s one of the biggest hurdles, and how can we overcome it?

Eve Banks (Research and Insights Coordinator): Women still don’t feel heard. Take deep breaths, ground yourself and just be yourself; you are worthy and you are enough. Growing pains are a great way to learn from your mistakes – start owning your own space.

Alice Beeby (Facilities Apprentice): I would say the number one challenge for women within business is the lack of support out there. Whether that is from investors, a lack of mentors, or even from people who are close to them. I feel more people should take the time to listen and learn about women within the business industry and not only promote, but invest in female-owned businesses.

Maria Bedoya (Programmes Manager): One of the most prevalent challenges female founders and women in business face is breaking into industries and spaces predominantly dominated by men. The frustration and lack of confidence stemming from navigating these environments can be overwhelming, often leaving women feeling intimidated and undervalued. It’s a battle against entrenched structures that can easily undermine our confidence. However, as women, we possess extraordinary resilience and determination to overcome these obstacles. We pave the way for a more equitable and diverse landscape in business.


Not all achievements have to be linked with career progression, what has been your biggest achievement or something you’re most proud?

Maria: One of my proudest achieve-ments to date, beyond my professional endeavours, is witnessing the tangible difference and impact that initiatives or projects I have worked on in the past have made, and how these initiatives change people’s lives is immensely fulfilling. I feel like I did it right.

Eve: For me, it has been moving country, encountering so many emotions; a sense of a loss of intimate friendships, loss of security, loss of identity, while then being able to build a life, create a home and somehow find that sense of belonging on my own.

Alice: My biggest achievement would be playing such a big role in my two sisters’ upbringing, and seeing what amazing people they have become over the years.


Many female entrepreneurs, and women in business, experience setbacks but the journey doesn’t have to be isolating. What advice would you have for them?

Eve: Challenges come in phases, despite not seeing the wood from the trees, before you know it, you’ll be able to see the entire forest without even trying. Hindsight is great, it gives you an opportunity to reflect and hopefully laugh about how ridiculous a situation once was.

Alice: My advice would be to believe in yourself always, no matter what opinions other people may have of you. Always approach everything you do with confidence, never second guess yourself. Surround yourself with a strong team that believe in you and your business, that will help build confidence even more.

Maria: My advice for female entrepreneurs is to cultivate resilience and persistence. Challenges are inevitable, but viewing them as opportunities for growth can propel you forward. Surround yourself with a supportive network, stay adaptable, and never underestimate the power of continuous learning. It sounds cheesy, but it’s the truth!


There are often stereotypes and myths formed about women in business, so let’s debunk them…

Maria: A persistent myth about women in business is the misconception that they inherently lack the decisiveness and analytical skills necessary for success in STEM careers. However, this stereotype overlooks the vast number of women who excel in these fields, making significant contributions to innovation and technological advancement.

Eve: We are not all emotional. We bring compassion, understanding and, let’s face it, we’re a bit softer and tend to go that extra mile due to our nurturing nature.

Alice: “Male-owned business are more successful than female-owned businesses.” Female-owned bus-
inesses tend to have a higher growth rate and are more efficient with funding. Success is also not only limited to revenue but can be determined by the impact organisations make in society and the environment.


At Sussex Innovation, we believe that female entrepreneurs should be supported all year long, not just on International Women’s Day.
We understand that we can’t remove the systemic barriers faced by women in business entirely, but we can do our part to help make the entrepreneurial journey a little bit less daunting. If you’re a female founder looking for support to grow your business, we’d love to hear how we can help.

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