A Chat with Sarah King, Co-Founder At Women’s Startup, Accelerator & Investment Movement: we are radikl

we are radikl is a national movement that helps women to start, grow and scale their businesses. We launched in 2019 and spent two years testing our proposition. Our aim is to become the go-to platform for early-stage women entrepreneurs and investors in the UK.

We now have 250 members and we’ve built an active online community. Our Partnership Strategy, Incubator and Accelerator programmes all focus on fuelling the successful start-up and scale-up rate of women-founded businesses across the UK.

There are four levels of membership and everything we do is based on our design principles of ‘radikl know-how’, connection, inspiration, and kindness.
we are radikl

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

I leapt from my corporate career into entrepreneurship in 2013. One thing I hadn’t expected was the number of conversations I would have with women who would ask me questions like how I made the leap; whether I had a business plan; how I found my first customers; how to move self-doubt out of the way.

I spoke at an event in Manchester for new mums who wanted to start their own businesses and it was standing room only. I guess this combined with my own experience as a woman entrepreneur lead me to believe there was an important problem that needed a creative and innovative solution.

When I met my now-business-partner Claire Dunn, we were both a number of years into our entrepreneurial careers and while we only live half a mile apart, we didn’t know the other one was there. This was like a lightbulb moment. We asked ourselves how many other women might be building their own businesses from their kitchen tables between our two houses and the answer was a lot.

Since that day, we’ve been creating what has become a movement that is fuelling aspirations and the impact of women entrepreneurs across the U.K.


How have women entrepreneurs been affected during the pandemic?

The sad truth is that the odds were already stacked against women business founders. New research by Extend Ventures shows that in the last decade, less than 1% of venture capital went to all-women teams at Seed stage and just one black woman CEO secured Series A funding. Just one!

During the pandemic, we’ve seen that lockdowns have disproportionately impacted sectors such as hospitality, health and beauty, the arts and retail, which tend to be led by women. In fact, Europe-wide research in August last year found 23 percent of women-owned businesses were still closed following the first lockdown, compared to 14 percent of firms owned by men. And the International Monetary Fund has expressed concern that the pandemic may roll back 30 years of economic progress for women.

At home, we know that women have shouldered the vast majority of schooling and caring duties over the last year, which for many has hugely impacted their ability to devote time to their businesses.

What can we hope to see from we are radikl in the future?

We’ve just launched a campaign, #overbeingunderfunded, which is lobbying the Government to level the playing field for women-founded businesses by making some simple adjustments to one of its most important sources of funding, the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS).
We’re asking for more time to apply – at the moment the scheme is only open in your first 2 years of trading – and this change would benefit all business founders, not just women.
We’re also calling for the Government to introduce gender reporting to SEIS and to commit to channelling funds towards early-stage women-founded businesses.

A lot of support like the Peer Network programme requires founders to have five employees and to have hit £100k turnover – we believe the support needed to accelerate early-stage investment in women-founded businesses is needed before those milestones have been achieved.

The Alison Rose Review of Entrepreneurship, commissioned by the Treasury, shows that funding is a key barrier holding women back from starting or scaling businesses. So we’re hoping these changes will even out some of the injustices in the system and open the way for women – and other entrepreneurs – to play a central role in Britain’s economic build-back.