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Women in Business: My Experience

25 November 2020

Local Entrepreneur and SEMLEP Board Member Shalom Lloyd has shared her experience as a woman in business.

Tell me a little bit about your business?

I run two amazing businesses, businesses that have purpose, that speak to my ‘why’ and are driven by making a difference (with innovation at their core).

Naturally Tribal Skincare Ltd is a proudly British company, using only Mother Nature’s gifts to create natural skincare products for the whole family without the use of synthetic chemicals. We import personally selected natural ingredients from Africa for research, testing, formulation and manufacture in the United Kingdom. Our end products are beautifully packaged for global distribution and export, whilst empowering African women in the process.

Emerging Markets Quality Trials (eMQT): Although the patients of African descent make up 17% of the world’s population (over 1 billion), black people are underrepresented in clinical trials globally reported as less than 3% by the Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS). eMQT is the bridge between the pharmaceutical industry and Africa, utilizing research qualified healthcare experts and technology innovation to provide access to patients and high-quality evidence-based patient data.

Over the years, what has been the biggest challenge you have faced as a woman in business?

I could say my biggest challenge is smashing that ‘glass ceiling’ we talk about a lot, but the greatest challenge I have overcome during my business journey is sacrifice!

  • Time away from my husband, away from my children
  • Being told that if I did not have half a million pounds in the bank, there was no point starting my own skincare company
  • The pressure of re-mortgaging my family home to start my business
  • Leaving my full-time job (six-figure salary) to start my business
  • Am I the only one who feels guilty? Sometimes I feel like a bad mother.

Sacrifice is the biggest challenge I have faced and, in some ways, continue to face.

Why do you think it’s important for women to support each other throughout their endeavours?

There is power in numbers, particularly when we all face very similar challenges.

I was born in Nigeria! I LOVE my roots and my Nigerian (African) heritage which gave me the grounding from a cultural perspective, the love and appreciation for family, understanding of the strength of community.

Being judged in more recent times has stopped bothering me! As a woman, I have rebelled against the stereotype where my role appeared to be pre-defined; rebelled against my culture where I could have been boxed into being seen but not heard.

If we truly support each other as businesswoman, we will walk the talk and actually live the words ‘Empowerment and Diversity’ by putting them into action. As a community, we will support each other to lead with integrity, passion, honesty and fairness, doing this courageously whilst continuously challenging the status quo.

How have you benefited from being connected to a network of female business owners?

Being connected to a network of female business owners is extremely important! Being connected has given me access to women who:

  • Are driven
  • Are not afraid of making creative and daring decisions
  • Refuse to ever be afraid to ask the question
  • Pass the baton
  • Support, champion, mentor

With the help of such women (and men), I found myself and my voice at the age of 40, when my confident ‘take me as I am self’ emerged. I am first, a woman, a mother, a wife, a professional and proud of my heritage, but will not be defined by it.

Life is full of challenges and I to have faced my fair share – challenges as a young woman growing up in Nigeria, as a black woman in Russia, as a young graduate trying to start a career in the UK, as a career woman trying to progress and climb that famous ladder, as a woman divorced, as a woman who thought there was a possibility she would not be a mother, as a step mother, as a mother of mixed race children, as a wife, as a business person, as me!

My network has helped get to a place where I know that failure is the first step to success; multiple failures are multiple steps towards success. To a place where, if we have the courage to stop, retrace our steps, we will see that the failures we have had, have been the drivers and the obstacles we have had to overcome to get to where we are today.

The Rose Review found greater risk awareness was one of the key barriers that leading to lower rates of entrepreneurship amongst women. Has this impacted your business or how you went about starting it?

Up to £250 billion could be added to the UK economy if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men – let’s keep that at the fore of our minds!

We have that natural entrepreneurial gene –  we make fantastic entrepreneurs and business women. We need to get so used to breaking boundaries and barriers to the point where we stop seeing them – that is how I started and approached my business journey.

What are your business ambitions for the future?

Naturally Tribal: Change the narrative and be the leading global natural skincare brand for customers with skin conditions through growth and great collaborations.

eMQT: Be a gateway into Africa for Pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs?

Empowering women in business is about building confidence, skills, leadership at multiple levels, an inclusive mind-set, nurturing our natural entrepreneurial spirit and financial independence.

By empowering a woman, I empower myself
By empowering a woman, I change the world, one woman at a time
By empowering a woman, I teach my children
By empowering a woman, I learn
By empowering a woman, I rise
By empowering a woman, I build a community
By empowering a woman, I live by example and action

Let’s not just talk about it, lets, just ‘do it’

To connect women in business across the South East Midlands, SEMLEP’s Growth Hub and NatWest have teamed up for a one-hour virtual event.

Join Shalom and other female entrepreneurs at 10.30 AM on Tuesday 1 December to hear about their experiences as women in business and discuss the shared challenges that female led businesses face.

Reserve your place here.

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