Since I launched my businesses, Network Locum, last year I have come across a number of people who think that female entrepreneurs are either bored women who one day decided to run their own cupcake shop or mums creating craftwork in their spare rooms in between school runs. This is certainly the case for some, and good for them, but the finalists of The Women of the Future Awards in association with Shell are proof that women can and do run fast growing-businesses which can completely disrupt their industries. I'm really proud to belong to that group.
It's great that female contribution to the UK entrepreneurial scene is being officially acknowledged by this award. All too often, great entrepreneurs are linked with successful men only and this really is just half of the picture. I'm very proud to have been shortlisted for this award, but it isn't just about representing women role models in business for me. It's also kind of a personal confirmation that I haven't done a completely crazy thing by abandoning a secure place on a payroll at McKinsey & Co and that other people believe in my idea.
During my time as a management consultant I worked on a number of projects across the NHS and that's when I fell in love with working in healthcare. There are so many challenges, nothing is quite straightforward which makes the work really interesting. Of all these challenges, there is one main goal that I want my business to achieve - better access to primary care. People need to be able to get an appointment with a GP when they need one, without having to wait for days or travel across the country because they can only see a doctor near their home. This can be achieved by better use of temporary staff, but only if this staffing model is affordable for surgeries, which currently it's not.
My business, which connects GP practices and locum doctors, is online, which makes it instantly a cheaper and faster service. Taking it a bit further, and I like to think that this was quite a bold step, we offer complete transparency too. Practice managers rate the locum doctors we have on our books in a 'trip advisor' style which encourages competition and consequently higher standard of services. It also means that GP practices can select the locum that is right for them.
Technology and transparency are key and I know it works. We've already grown tenfold since Network Locum was launched in 2012 and being shortlisted for this award means that there are other people that I look up to, who agree with my approach. It's given me a personal confidence boost and conviction in our business vision. And confidence is often what you need the most when you are trying to completely change the way a certain industry operates, especially when it is male dominated and red tape riddled like the NHS.