Cally Robson, She’s Ingenious!

Cally spotted a gap in support for women who are promoting and developing a new invention or product idea

Could you explain a bit about what your business is? 
An online club to support women developing new product ideas and inventions

When did you start your business? 
2003 with website relaunch 2009

What motivated you to start a business/become self-employed? 
Wanting to build my own business for myself. Wanting flexibility around family life.

Have you used any business support services and if so was this support useful?
Yes, the resources at the British Library were helpful. Business Link in 2004 was less useful (!) but better now. Business advice from my local council tries to help, but is more suited to SMEs with 5+ employees.

What are the highlights of being a business owner/self-employed? 
Everyday is different. I’m in charge of my own success. I feel I’m doing something worthwhile. Overcoming each challenge makes me more confident and wiser

Have you experienced any particular difficulties/challenges in starting a business?
Most networking that isn’t set up specifically for women is not good for working mums. Timings are wrong. And whole atmosphere is wrong. Thankfully there are lots of women’s business networks now. There’s no microfunding for women start-ups at grassroots level. Unless perhaps you’re in an officially “deprived” postcode. Funding and managing childcare is an issue.

Do you feel you have experienced any disadvantages in starting and growing a business because you are female? 
Only because I am a mum and juggling the two things is difficult. Plus childcare is such as issue – cost and the inflexibility of it.

Do you feel you have experienced any advantages in starting and growing a business because you are female? 
Yes, there are lots of us starting and growing businesses, so that is encouraging.

What key pieces of advice would you give to other women thinking about starting a business? 
Before you jump in, put a plan together to find out as much as you can. From others who have done it already. But don’t wait until you know everything before you start. Action is the key thing. Don’t think that starting your own business will instantly solve your financial worries. It takes time to set and make it happen. Do account for the other things happening in your life. You don’t have to be a superwoman and try to do it all.


From the Prowess archive 2009

Leave a comment