Posted: Mon 28th Jun 2021
On Friday, we took the Festival of Female Entrepreneurs to Scotland – and we came away feeling optimistic, energised and downright inspired.
From fresh definitions of diversity to knowing what to look for from potential investors, there were so many powerful insights to take in. Below are three of our highlights.
Lesley Eccles: ‘Not all money is equal’
“What I’ve learned is that culture comes from the top. Building a high-performing team comes down to a foundational level of trust.
“If you can get that from the board all the way down, you can build a high-performing team on top of it.
“You build accountability. People know they’re going to do the right thing by each other. You’re then not afraid to take risks.
“In order to build this culture, you must have people at board level you can trust and who trust you. Take investment from people you’ve done your due diligence on.
“They’re going to do due diligence on you before they invest; you need to do it on a similar level before you take their money. Not all money is equal.
“Find CEOs in investors’ portfolios and talk to them about what happened when things went wrong. How did the investor behave? What terms did they impose on you? How did they behave in board meetings? Did they have respect for you as a founder?”
Lesley Eccles is the founder and CEO of relationship coaching and self-care app HelloRelish Inc. She previously co-founded billion-dollar fantasy sports betting company FanDuel with her husband, Nigel.
Pheona Matovu: ‘Diversity is about intercultural competence’
“Diversity isn’t really about recruiting; it’s about intercultural competence. How competent are you to work with other people beyond your own small space?
“I have been to spaces where there are 400 people and I am the only black woman. While it can be challenging, I can hold my own. I’m used to it, even if it’s something I shouldn’t have to feel used to.
“Could you do the same if you walked into a space where everybody looked different? Our training is about not only this, but the structures, systems and processes that will allow Scotland and the UK to increase their reach as global players.
“We closely look at community engagement. How do you engage with people who may not be like you, to ensure they buy your services and products? It’s about cross-cultural communication.
“An example. If I say something to you and you don’t like it, you might say ‘Hmm, that’s interesting.’ You don’t necessarily mean it’s interesting – you mean you don’t quite like it.
“In my culture, we say ‘That’s rubbish. I disagree.’ The difference between our responses is that you’re saying what you’re saying to be polite. But I’m confused, because I think you think it’s interesting, so I’ll continue.
“What I’ve said, you might think is rude. But our culture is one that just sees things as they are. This is why it’s important to allow people to engage with each other in different cultures of communication.”
Pheona Matovu is the co-founder of award-winning social enterprise Radiant & Brighter, which works with agencies in Scotland to review their systems, structures and policies via cultural competence programmes.
Emma Gregan: ‘There is loads of opportunity in the tech sector’
“In terms of women in the tech industry, there is definitely loads of opportunity. It’s far more accessible now because we see work as very much an activity now; it’s not so much a place.
“If anybody has been put out of work over the last 18 months, the tech sector is definitely worth looking in to. There are plenty of opportunities for start-ups, as well as roles at established businesses.
“In Dublin, a lot of big international companies have their headquarters here. They’re constantly advertising jobs, so it’s worth exploring.”
Emma Gregan has been a technical sales specialist at Dell Technologies for seven years. Passionate about enabling and supporting digital transformation, Emma also acts as a champion for female entrepreneurs and workplace diversity.