A Rotherham-based entrepreneur behind an inclusive clothing brand is just one of the 129 women in the North of England who has benefitted from NatWest’s innovative Back Her Business crowdfunding platform over the last 12 months.
Dr Joanna Baker-Rogers, founder of Busy Life, an e-commerce business championing people with disabilities has used Back Her Business to secure £1,581 of funding, including £750 from NatWest.
Back Her Business supports female entrepreneurs by helping and encouraging more women to start and fund their own businesses in the early stages.
Since launching in 2019, it has helped 129 projects led by female entrepreneurs in the North of England. To date NatWest has pledged £135,400 to these campaigns.
Back Her Business has been developed in partnership with Crowdfunder and forms part of NatWest’s wider commitment to reduce the gender gap when it comes to entrepreneurship, by supporting the creation of a further 400,000 female-led businesses by 2025.
Over the next 12 months, NatWest hopes to help even more female-led businesses in the North secure business funding through Back Her Business.
Joanna will use the funding to finance her range of Diversity Designs Technical T-Shirts, running tops with imagery of runners including parathletes, helping to bridge the gap between sport and disabilities.
One in five of the UK population are disabled meaning they are twice as likely to be inactive as someone without a disability. However, four out of five disabled people say they would like to be more active.
To encourage inclusivity in sport, Joanna will also create new designs covering a wider range of Paralympic sports, as well as develop a more extensive range of disability imagery to add to her current collections.
Busy Life partners with a different charity or fundraising campaign every month and a donation is made from every item sold.
Joanna said: “After completing my Doctorate in Special Needs Education, I was unable to find a teaching job. Instead, I decided to create a business that championed inclusion. This was inspired by my experience and own relationship with disABILITY, having had a speech impediment for as long as I can remember.
“Back Her Business has helped me reach the next stage of business growth and I would definitely recommend the platform to anyone starting or expanding a business. To have NatWest contribute towards your crowdfunding target is hugely rewarding.
“My plans, for the future, are to add more sports to my Diversity Designs collection and to partner with other businesses to increase my product range. I’m also developing a selection of inclusive toys and board games to develop the Busy Life brand further.”
Back Her Business launched in March 2019 following NatWest’s Rose Review, which revealed £250 billion could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men. The Government-backed report also highlighted that only one in three entrepreneurs are female.
Heather Waters, Enterprise Manager at NatWest, said: “At NatWest, our aim is to support entrepreneurial women like Joanna and help them drive forward ambitious ideas and business growth through Back Her Business.
“More than a year on from the launch of the UK’s first female-only crowdfunding platform, we are continuing to support successful entrepreneurs in the North and across the country by providing them with industry-leading advice, coaching and mentorship.”
To find out more information about Back Her Business go to https://natwestbackherbusiness.co.uk/