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Valuable lessons learned from an accelerator programme for female entrepreneurs that focussed on future growth

It’s counter-intuitive to find that one of the most constructive lessons from a business programme is to consider firing yourself – but it really concentrated the mind on our future growth strategy and the need to manage the business, rather than just “doing the doing”.

 

Iconic Resourcing was just about to celebrate its first birthday when lockdown came and the 2 professionals we had only recently hired were furloughed. So, we jumped at the chance to join the Women-Led Accelerator for female entrepreneurs, provided through Glasgow City Council’s Business Growth Programme*.

The intensive programme was specifically designed to help female business leaders navigate an altered business landscape, during and after the pandemic.

We were already sure of our strengths; delivering a highly professional recruitment service for HR, Accountancy and Finance staff, backed by genuine determination to combine technology and human interaction more effectively. Like everyone else however, we were facing an uncertain future, thanks to the pandemic.

Over the four months of the Accelerator, we were exposed to the challenges and strategies of many other businesses and sectors, as well as the expertise of a diverse band of experts in their respective fields.

A mixture of group and 1:1 sessions each week forced us to think through and beyond the pandemic, to what would really differentiate Iconic Resourcing as a recruiter in the busy Professional Services sector. The course offered an opportunity to step back and evaluate our ambitions and delivery model; metaphorically “firing” ourselves as resource specialists to better utilise our time as business managers.

Despite the relative youth of the company, (established in April 2019), we have further evolved our strategy of helping retained clients to define their corporate story and attract a wider array of candidates as a result.

We also turned adversity into advantage by making a strength out of video for both CVs and interviews. Video both reduces the time to hire and increases the geographic pool of candidates. Clients also love being able to find out more about a candidate than a paper CV could ever deliver, increasing our candidates’ success rates.

As a result, our confidence remains high. So much so that we have taken on several exciting new clients and are just about to hire four, additional team members through the Kickstart programme and a further two independently.

If you ask me, no development programme is ever wasted and the Women-Led Accelerator encouraged us to see a period of uncertainty as a genuine opportunity to pivot and adapt.

*The Women-Led Accelerator programme for female entrepreneurs ran over four months in spring 2021. It was part of Glasgow City Council’s Business Growth Programme; funded by the European Regional Development Fund and delivered by LESL.