Wow, what a year!
Last month we celebrated our first birthday, having supported five female-founded businesses to facilitate investment worth over £2m since we launched in October 2020.
Initiated by Helen Oldham, founding board director of NorthInvest, a Leeds-based not-for-profit organisation set up to help northern tech start-ups access angel investment, Fund Her North was set up with the purpose to give Northern, female entrepreneurs equal access to funding to help them successfully scale their businesses.
We are proud to share that Fund Her North is led by some of the North’s most prominent voices in the investment landscape.
Helen is joined on the steering group by Jess Jackson, head of investment at GC Angels, Charlotte Ashton, founding director of Implicit Advisory, Samantha Piddington, head of corporate finance at Deepbridge Capital, Jordan Dargue, board director at NorthInvest and founding director of Dargue Associates, Chi-chi Ekweozor, entrepreneur and founder of Assenty Ltd and more recently Sarah Hex, business development manager at Mercia Asset Management and Claire Alvarez, partner at Foresight Group.
Our volunteer collective consists of over 28 women in VC’s, funding organisations and angel groups with a combined investment power of over £650 million in the North. Each of the members of the collective has already made a lasting effect on women entrepreneurs in the North with a combined investment track record of over £160 million invested in female led, start-up businesses.
Through our network, events and expertise, Fund Her North provides advice and support to female founders seeking investment for growth and, in tandem, works with investors looking to back in female-founded businesses with high growth potential.
As a first of its kind in the region, Fund Her North has built a network of over 100 members and a 25-strong women’s angel syndicate since its launch.
As Fund Her North turns one, we are celebrating facilitating investment worth over £2m for five Northern businesses – Umii, Supplywell, K9 Nation, Settl’d and Safer Date. We have also supported 25 entrepreneurs with investor readiness and access to finance support, facilitated 2 NED introductions to Trust Electric and K9 Nation as well as supported 2 companies through the Regional Angel Investment Accelerator grant funding. Meanwhile, we have hosted 8 events since our launch, which vary between pitch and thematic and have have reached over 900 participants!
Looking forward, we plan to build on the success of our first year and strengthen our team by recruiting three full-time staff members. We have already begun this process, welcoming Amirah Darr as marketing and events coordinator and Jack Lam as community manager.
Helen Oldham, co-founder of Fund Her North and founding board director of North Invest, said: “As we reflect on a year since launching Fund Her North, we are incredibly proud of all that we have achieved. Not only have we been able to significantly support six promising, female-founded businesses, we are also seeing our community of female entrepreneurs and investors expanding, with a joint mission to instigate change in the industry. Our initial work has mainly concentrated on market driven early-stage investment and we plan to make a more significant impact in supporting later stage businesses in Year 2.
However, we know that there is still a long way to go, and it will be the next few years which truly make a difference. We’ll be working harder than ever to bring more people to our network – both male and female – and driving the conversation around gender equality in the investment landscape. We are aware of the gaps in the market and the challenges being faced by female entrepreneurs across the region – our focus is on using our unique expertise to address this and continuing to grow our team of full-time staff to make this possible.”
Key to our work is establishing partnerships with key organisations to support investment opportunities for female founded businesses. In July 2021, Fund Her North announced a partnership with NatWest to support the enterprise and investment ambitions of entrepreneurial women across the North.
Heather Waters, NatWest’s Regional Ecosystem Manager for the North West, said:“Congratulations to the Fund Her North team on its first anniversary and we are delighted to continue to work with them as a partner to support even more female-led businesses with their investment journeys. We know that investment can unlock many doors for businesses, and we want to continue to support female-led businesses across the North region in achieving their business goals through our work with Fund Her North.”
And we aren't stopping now! We have huge growth plans, and are working hard to continue to challenge the norm and make business funding more accessible for female-founded businesses ready for growth.
Become a member and join our mission to bring together women in the investment industry and help support female founders. Please visit https://www.fundhernorth.com to join our community!