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Today we hear from Carina Read of Beautimeter about being inspired.

Beautimeter.com is a new digital platform seeking to redefine how women search for and find beauty products.

I’m Carina Read, the CEO and founder of Beautimeter and I’ve just completed a really lovely 6 month journey as part of the 2015 Entrepreneur Academe cohort of 19 female co-founders and found it both useful and an inspiring experience. I want to share my experience with any future participants.

How as it useful?

Well, unlike most of the other companies on the programme, Beautimeter had just secured funding at the time of joining the group and was literally at then start of the MVP build phase, so I didn’t have a user base –  let alone a website – to share with my co-founders, but that didn’t actually mean I was at a disadvantage.

Actually the opposite, as I found that I was able to see 12-24 months into the future and hear the concerns and challenges facing those around me with live businesses and this gave me some invaluable insights.  Also, because these women were further down the learning curve than me, I could benefit from their experiences and start planning ahead – something I couldn’t have done if I hadn’t seen what issues were facing them in real time.

When you’re working in a start-up environment it can be quite isolating to say the least!  When I meet investors or potential suppliers, I want to put my best foot forward and there is only so much my friends and family can offer as support before they ask us to stop talking about work!

But in reality, anyone building a start-up, no matter how confident they are or how clever the business idea, will be continuously dealing with loads of unknowns and a guaranteed level of uncertainty.  That all contributes to stress and sleepless nights, so any network that offers a buffer and provides a source of advice and assistance, is a huge benefit which I found Entrepreneur Academe to be.

Being in an environment where you have permission to air all those concerns free of any judgement is really invaluable. And I would go even further to say that for women, this is more important than for men (forgive me Sarah Turner!) as I believe women by their inherent nature have a greater need to be “sharers” and to discuss their issues and be heard, compared to our male peers who allegedly don’t have the need to share and be heard as much as women do.

Finally, the content of the course over the 6 months was cleverly customised to the needs of the attendees by the founders of Entrepreneur Academe, Sarah Turner and Simon Hopkins, and we got to have a session at the very start where we as co founders could ask for specific help, so the content was not pre-defined which is different to some other start-up programmes that force feed a pre-set curriculum that just may not suit the needs of the cohort.

How was in Inspiring?

When I signed up I was doing so for the access to knowledge and the mentors/contacts that I knew I needed. What I hadn’t realised was that being part of a cohort of co-founders would also be incredibly inspirational and motivating.

Every woman in the group is a pioneer in some respect.  She is facing daily challenges, some heart breaking frustrations at times, and she is pushing herself to her limits to make a new business idea turn into a successful reality.  A bit like how I imagine it must be to join a team of athletes training for a common goal like the Olympics.

Being around business women who are each trying to do something extraordinary and taking huge life changing risks at the same time, is incredibly inspiring.  Also, seeing those around you hit key milestones is also really wonderful and gives hope in months where you alone might not have achieved quite so much.

Some of my peers have gone through amazing transformations, be it pivoting to change direction or clarifying their revenue model and brining in funding.  That has also been truly amazing to witness!

Finally, I would like to thank Matt Mower, a senior tech adviser mentor who I found via the programme who has helped me for the past 4 months, and also Jessi Baker, the CEO of Provenance, for helping me find a great UX and digital product designer.

Last but not least, Sarah Turner and Simon Hopkins – thanks for making it all possible!

About Beautimeter 

Beautimeter is a digital smart adviser providing women with personalised beauty product recommendations and seeking to refine how we research and find beauty product information.  The business was founded by Carina Read and is currently under construction but looking to do a first release in January 2015. We’ve already secured over £109k of funding from InnovateUK and £25k of unsecured debt funding from the Government Start-Up loans service. We’re about to commence another SEIS & EIS qualifying equity round in December 2015 and are always keen to meet new angel investors interested in this sector.

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