Middlesex University alumna Gurnam Selvarajah is aiming to help 1,000 women achieve their business ambitions this year through her new venture, Developing Entrepreneurial Women (DEW).
Alongside her partner Christine Baker, BSc Psychology graduate Gurnam established DEW to provide mentoring, coaching and training service for women entrepreneurs to start, survive and sustain their companies.
With the motto 'grow a bigger mind and thicker skin', the focus is very much on helping their clients to develop their entrepreneurial mindset.
Their company now provides a range of services and resources, from self-study programmes through to an online monthly membership coaching club to help female entrepreneurs develop emotional resilience, manage risk, improve their capability to solve problems and generate innovative business decisions.
Gurnam, who graduated in 1996 and has held a number of senior roles in recruitment, telecoms procurement and business consultancy, said: "Writing a business plan is a great way of getting your thoughts on paper, but if you're not tuned in to yourself and your capabilities then you can become unstuck.
"Having spoken to people in business they all say the same thing; that there is a real need to provide support to women entrepreneurs. There is definitely a gap in the marketplace when it comes to this."
Since its launch in January 2014, more than 500 women have registered their interest in DEW's services and they are now regularly working with over 300 of these.
A range of reports, guides and webinar masterclasses are published on the DEW website, but Gurnam and Christine also offer monthly one-to-one coaching sessions for women who require more tailored business support.
During a free 30-minute Skype consultancy they get to know the entrepreneurs and learn about the type of assistance they need, before discussing whether their standard products will be suitable or if a personal coaching plan would be more beneficial.
As a result of their coaching, Gurnam and Christine ultimately hope that their clients will begin looking at their business problems differently and cut down on mistakes which impede their growth and waste time, money and energy.
Ambition to help others
After long and successful careers in business, both women were motivated by the ambition to give back to women entrepreneurs and in August 2013 began to build their business.
Their research found that when women begin to grow their business and the problems they face begin to increase, they worry about the quality and effectiveness of their business decisions, which can often be a barrier to growth.
To address this, the pair wanted to provide a service to help women entrepreneurs develop the 'right mindset' by boosting their thinking powers and strengthening their emotional resilience.
"What really keeps female entrepreneurs awake at night is concern about risks, whether they trust their own judgment and whether they believe they are credible as entrepreneurs," said Christine, who began her career in banking before retraining as a business psychologist and working in organisational and people development.
"You need to have the combination of excellent problem-solving skills and emotional strength to cope with the ups and downs. No one else seemed to offer coaching services in these fundamental criteria for entrepreneurial success."