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Upstart Women Searches for the UK's Top Female Digital Start-Up



Women Outside the Box launch competition to win £10,000

Upstart Women Searches for the UK's Top Female Digital Start-Up

Women Outside the Box (WOTB), a Bristol-based business platform for women, has launched a competition called Upstart Women, to find the UK’s best female digital start-up. 

The winner of the competition will be awarded a place on WebStart Bristol, a renowned tech entrepreneur’s incubator, which lasts 10 weeks, takes place in Bristol and starts in October this year. The prize is worth a total of £10,000. 

Upstart Women is open to all women over the age of 18, and is open until midnight on the 1st August 2014. 

Joni Farthing founded WOTB in 2012. It is the go-to community for women in business, with an online platform supported by offline clubs and events. These include regional City Business Clubs, the UK’s biggest festival of female entrepreneurship and WOTB Online, a forum and networking hub.

The WebStart Bristol 10-week incubator programme includes desk space in Engine Shed, Bristol’s thriving tech hub, business mentoring from a panel of specialists, hands-on support in areas such as graphic design, website and app design, PR and social media marketing. The winner of the competition will receive help to put together a pitch, and the opportunity to make that pitch before investors at the end of the programme.

Joni Farthing Answers a short Q and A on the comp;

What are you hoping to achieve with this competition? Why are you just targeting women?  

"We want to make women aware that they do not need to be techies in order to grow a successful digital business. We want to take the fear out of tech for 1000’s of women, who may have a great idea, but who don’t have a clue how to get it off the ground."

Are you being sexist by only allowing female entrants? 

“We don’t feel that men are as intimidated by tech generally, and they often have a close contact who is already in the tech world. With so few established women business owners in digital, other women just don’t tend to know anyone who can help and discuss things.  The WebStart Bristol programme brings techies and non-techies together.”

Why do you think there are so few tech female start-ups? 

“Women in general (according to our WOTB survey last year) worry more about taking on risk than men do.  Very few tech start-ups can scale without investment, and women worry about committing when they are not sure if the start-up will succeed. But most start-ups fail, and those that succeed usually dramatically alter their product – so taking on risk is even more essential for tech start-ups than for other types of enterprise.”

What if the female in question has no tech experience, just a fantastic idea?  

“Perfect!  Exactly the sort of person we want to win Upstart Women. Then we can show that you don’t need to code to make it. You just have to brief the digital people involved well. That will be the key to success for businesses going forward.  And women really need to get on board.  Stop worrying if you don’t know enough – an entrepreneur gathers a team about herself who know enough between them. Her job is to have a brilliant idea and manage her team – oh and raise investment. That’s what this competition is all about - changing the mindset of women.”

What about women working in the advertising and marketing industries, why are you targeting them? 

“Women in the creative industries like marketing, advertising and publishing have exactly the mindset and experience to come up with what the market wants, but in a fun or disruptive way.  If they’ve got that idea within them but aren’t sure how they could make it happen, then they’d be crazy not to enter Upstart Women.  We’re not looking for people with all the tech or business answers.  We’re looking for savvy, creative ladies that can see the future right now.”

Mike Jackson, Founder, WebStart Bristol said; “Webstart Bristol is all about finding great entrepreneurs with strong ideas for building a fast growing web or app business, and giving them the initial investment and guidance to make the most of their potential.  

Joni and Women Outside The Box were a great part of our first programme, but as a female founder of a web business, she represents a rare minority, which doesn't reflect the talent and ambition of female entrepreneurs in the UK.  

That's why we have launched Upstart Women, to find a female founder with a great idea for a web or app business.”

Entry requirements & details on the prize

• At least one of the founders must be female

• Digital start-ups involving apps, websites or web services for rapid deployment will all be accepted for entry. No product development or agencies will be considered

• Start-ups at idea stage or with a year of bootstrapping can enter 

• The winner will show outstanding full-time commitment to their tech start-up, solid self-belief and the necessary business mind-set and skills to succeed

• Ideal start-up teams contain two or more founders, but we are open to single female entrepreneurs too

• The winner will receive at least half of the £10K prize as a cash investment directly into their business, with the rest paying for a professional team, office space and mentorship. 

• The winner will receive a year’s free membership of WOTB City Business Club

• Every entrant also gets a discount voucher to join us on WOTB Online – the space where ambitious women talk business.

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