What inspired you to #bebold and start an impact venture? #IWD17

By March 8, 2017Featured Article

8 inspiring women, leading 6 very different ventures, all with one thing in common – they all took the bold step to start a business that makes a positive impact on people, planet or place.

Find out what inspired them to #bebold start their business below:


AmaElla is an ethical lingerie brand. Founders Julie Kervadec and Lara Sangil were personally frustrated about how difficult it was to find high quality, organic cotton lingerie products, produced ethically, without compromising on comfort or style.

Having met at business school, both were determined to start a business together, but not just any business, it needed to be a business that made a positive impact.

‘That was especially important to us, as since graduating we had both been working in big corporate companies, that didn’t always match our personal values. We needed to prove that you can do good business, make a profit and still have a positive impact.’

‘Over dinner one evening we were venting our struggles in finding underwear that met these values, and we realised; this could be our business. ‘

GAP Learning

Run by sisters Amanda and Teresa, GAP delivers practical and creative workshops for people living through difficult circumstances to promote positive life changes. They work with people with mental and physical health challenges, the long-term unemployed, women ex-offenders and survivors.

‘I was working in Adult Learning and Skills and realised I just love community outreach work. A good friend, and my boss at the time said – why aren’t you doing this for yourself, in your own way?’

Inspired, the sisters both applied to the School for Social Enterprise, at first each with their own projects, during the year-long training they came together and formed GAP Learning CIC.


A jobshare tech specialist with a unique cloud based platform, founded by Sara Horsfall, Ginibee hopes to empower employees to form partnerships, improve access to talented workforces and save businesses money by reducing attrition rates.

Sara was inspired by her own experience, following the birth of her second child. Unable to find a part time role, she tried to make the case for jobshare to potential employers.

‘I thought if I could find someone with similar skills, who I could potentially share a role with, we could apply for a job together and take the hard work away from the HR department, removing their concerns and hesitation. But I had no idea how or where to start looking.’

‘Recruiters didn’t want to help me connect with similar candidates, I thought that there was bound to be a web-based service, but I looked everywhere and couldn’t find one. I spoke to other mums having the same problem. We needed a solution, and it seemed no one else was going to come up with one, so I just thought, ok, I’ll do it. ‘

Cambridge Community Arts (CCA)

Founded by Jane Rich, CCA uses the creative process as a tool to empower people by tapping into their own creative resources and improving their mental well-being. This results in stronger and more successful people, communities and workforces.

‘We work with talented artists, musicians, producers, directors, actors, film-makers , photographers, poets, story-tellers… experienced at delivering creative learning and inspiring others. I had been working for a charity doing similar work but could see the failures of their model and knew I could do better myself. ‘


Sarah Monthlies

Monthlies was founded by Sarah Hewett, initially with a focus on the environmental impact of managing periods. There was a gap in the market between the major brands of menstrual products which contain a lot of plastics and chemicals and the re-usable options like menstrual cups and re-usable pads.

‘However as I started to talk to more people about the idea of Monthlies, I found there was more stigma around speaking about periods than I had expected. I knew there was a taboo still but was surprised that almost everyone I spoke to had stories of awkward encounters or even very harmful ones, such as believing they were dying when they had their first period. It became clear that this was an area which needed to be addressed with open and honest discussion of menstruation.’


Fiona Neilsen left her 9-5 job to develop an easier and faster way for researchers to find the data they need to make breakthrough discoveries for the benefit of patients.

‘Before I started my entrepreneurial journey I was a scientist working in genetics. I was inspired by the potential of personalised medicine and targeted cancer therapies but found repeatedly that the biggest barrier for me to interpret the genetics of an individual is the difficulty of finding similar genetic data for comparison and validation.’

Although lots of data has been generated around the world, it is difficult for researchers to find what is available and it may take up to 6 months to gain access to a data set. The Repositive platform enables researchers to browse through multiple repositories for the human genomic data they need to power their research.

Start your own impact venture with free support from Serious Impact!


International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. This year the challenge is to #BeBoldForChange.
Call on the masses or call on yourself to help forge a better working world – a more inclusive, gender equal world!