City’s young female innovators are “dropping the hammer” on glass ceiling - YEP opinion

Young female entrepreneurs are smashing through the glass ceiling and bringing their innovative business ideas to life in Leeds.

Sunday, 9th May 2021, 11:45 am
Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2019. (Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Two of the city’s budding business moguls have spoken about their experiences creating ground-breaking new ventures in the latest edition of the Leeds in Conversation podcast, which looks at the importance of inspiring young people in Leeds to become active leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Award-winning student Ava Garside, who at 14 is the podcast’s youngest ever guest, came up with an air quality badge sensor to help pedestrians find the healthiest routes.

She is joined by Rebecca O’Higgins, who developed /ki-ah-na/, a facial recognition software that works for all skin colours and genders.

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Ava said: “Being younger, there really is a massive glass ceiling and my big hope is that people like me can drop the hammer needed to smash through the glass ceiling.

“It’s almost like success is working for a large company, but using your own knowledge and skills to launch your own enterprise is never mentioned as a viable option.”

Discussing her own experiences of starting a new business, Rebecca talks about her involvement in the new start-up accelerator project, BUILD. Speaking about the benefits of coming together with a diverse group of people on the programme, she says:

“It’s been fantastic to have such a diverse group, genuinely diverse is what it is, there’s no set age range, there’s no set background; in terms of criteria, it’s making sure that you’re incredibly passionate and sure [that] what you’re doing is for other people – and that purpose is there to be supported with a profit.”

They are joined on the latest episode of the podcast by Richelle Schuster, head of programme innovation at Leeds City Council. The episode also includes ideas for those looking at starting a new business or developing an innovative idea.

Listen to the full interview in episode two of the new series of the Leeds in Conversation podcast. Available on all major audio platforms, the podcast gives you the inside track on what the future holds for the city.