Founder of The Juno Project Ali Golds

Ali Golds is a hugely successful entrepreneur and inspiring leader. She founded her first company in 2000 and, to date, has run five successful businesses. She has used her experience and passion to establish The Juno Project – an organisation that supports women in business.

We asked Ali why she started The Juno Project, and why she believes women make such good entrepreneurs.

What inspired you to help female entrepreneurs?

I’m lucky enough to work with some of the brightest and most inspirational people in the UK through my company Operation Enterprise – youngtrepreneurs of all ages, academic abilities and backgrounds, who combine their college and school studies with developing their businesses.

When my team and I first walk in to a room packed with the next group of students ready to engage with our programmes, the excitement and enthusiasm is palpable. These are young people on the most exciting journey they will ever take and they are desperate to pick up as much information, and hints and tips possible, before they leave at the end of the day.

What might surprise you though is that the majority of those youngtrepreneurs are male. And, despite the fact that between 2008-2011 women represented 80% of the new self-employed (Labour Force Survey, Office of National Statistics 2013), today women account for less than a third of those who are self-employed. They also start businesses with less capital, and are definitely less likely to apply for funding.

Why did you start The Juno Project?

As a female entrepreneur myself, this perturbed me. Part of the reason I came into this market was to encourage girls to think about running their own business. I wanted them to see the real possibilities available to them; that learning about running a business doesn’t just give you the skills you need for self-employment, but also makes you more work-ready and improves your personal skills to boot.

So I started The Juno Project to change the perception of young girls and women that they can’t run a business. The Juno Project:

  • Challenges the idea that young women aren’t good at – and can’t succeed at – running a business.
  • Puts paid to the notion that single mums who can’t work due to childcare issues can’t run their own business.
  • Puts forward positive role models of all shapes, sizes, ages, backgrounds, work histories and academic abilities to show that anything is possible – you just need to believe it.

To achieve this, we deliver enterprise education programmes to a wide cross-section of women, from teenagers upwards, in all types of organisations, and wherever we are asked to go.

Why do women make good entrepreneurs?

My experience of working with female entrepreneurs is that they are well-organised, passionate, dynamic and extraordinarily hardworking. They certainly plan their businesses well, often with more detail than the men I work with who are more prepared to take risks. They also know how important it is to embrace the unpredictability and the challenges ahead and to carry on regardless.

Women are fantastic multi-taskers – another useful skill in business – and are great at diffusing tricky situations, which makes for smoother sales negotiations and quicker outcomes.

How do you help women (including mums)?

Lots of the women entrepreneurs that I know are also mums; so not only are they juggling their work life but they’re also juggling their home lives too. If they work from home, like me, they become super adept at cooking supper, doing the washing and making business calls whilst overseeing homework – all at the same time!

Through The Juno Project my goal is to empower, encourage and support these women. And help them realise the success they’re capable of achieving.

You can find out more about The Juno Project on their website.