Meet Anna Brailsford, CEO & Co-Founder at Educational Coding Company: Code First Girls

Anna Brailsford

Code First Girls is a fast-growing, female-founded business that supports women into coding education and employment for free.

There is a huge gender gap in the tech industry, with women making up just 21% of the UK’s tech industry and black women making up less than 3%. The UK’s tech job market is projected to be worth £30bn by 2025 – six times larger than it is now, but analysis by Code First Girls of employment and higher education data finds there will be one qualified woman for every 115 technical roles by 2025.
Code First Girls (@CodeFirstGirls) / Twitter

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

Code First Girls was originally founded as a mission-driven non-profit to provide free coding education to women. But when I joined as CEO in 2019, I turned Code First Girls into a commercial business, by connecting education with real job opportunities.

Our model is what makes us unique, as it connects education with employment opportunities – and crucially, it’s free, virtual and accessible, so women can fit their studies flexibly into their lives. That removes a huge barrier for those with other responsibilities, such as full-time work, education or caring for a child or family member. Other providers operating in this space have failed to put women and diversity at the heart of their economic model in this way.


How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?

Having transitioned from a social enterprise to a profit-making business, we’ve seen an explosion in growth. In the last few years, we’ve secured over 100 new partners including half of the UK’s biggest banks, and government departments including GCHQ and the Cabinet Office.

We’ve now taught 80,000 women to code and we’re the largest provider of free coding courses for women in the UK.

We also recently closed a £4.5m Series A funding round, with support from leading female angel investors in the tech space, to help us scale up and reach even more women.

What can we hope to see from Code First Girls in the future?

In the next five years we have an ambition to provide one million opportunities to women. Alongside free online courses at every stage of the pipeline, we plan to put over 26,000 women through the ‘CFGdegree’ and place them into tech roles over the next five years.

Given an average starting salary in tech, this equates to over £1 billion in economic opportunities for women entering into the tech industry. We aim to ultimately become the first EdTech unicorn dedicated to women. I’m so proud of our achievements so far, but there is much more work to do to close the gender gap in tech – watch this space!