Home » Cotswolds entrepreneur named one of the 50 most inspirational businesswomen in the UK

Cotswolds entrepreneur named one of the 50 most inspirational businesswomen in the UK

What started as a hobby business has grown into a
multi-million pound success story and turned the pioneering entrepreneur who founded it into both a campaigner,
gay role model and now winner of the Women in Innovation Award 2023.

It is the latest accolade for Emma
Heathcote-James, who runs the multi award-winning Little Soap Company; and it comes
with a bespoke package of mentoring, coaching and business
support, plus a £50,000 grant – which will be used to launch a yet to be revealed ‘new product’.

Innovate UK’s Women in Innovation programme identifies what
it calls the top 50 pioneering female entrepreneurs and supports their
innovative, ambitious business plans in the hope they will ‘inspire others and have a
positive economic, environmental, and societal impact’.

Heathcote-James, who began making ‘natural and organic soaps’
on her kitchen table in 2008, said: ‘This type of validation and funding with government backing will enable us to continue to innovate and shake up what is
currently a very unsustainable and un-eco category.

‘It will give us the potential
to increase the size of our business by 30 per cent leading to greater
employment, adding value to the local economy and potentially saving 120
billion plastic containers a year.’

She added: ‘As a woman in business there are very few role
models. While the numbers of female founders are rising, we still only make up
23 per cent of businesses with a larger employee count.

‘And based on our calculations, we estimate there to be
around 15,000 female founders in the UK who are also gay – however finding
those who are open and vocal about it is a real challenge.

‘I feel passionate that I should be a visible role model for
those like me, who are female and gay, and want to run their own business and
make a difference in the world. You can’t be what you can’t see.

‘We need to remember that 50 per cent of the UK population
is female so we need to see more women in innovation – the more of us that go
for it the more of us there will be. Change is happening slowly – it’s
important to be the change you want to see.’

Today The Little Soap company’s products are stocked in
supermarket shelves like Waitrose, and the firm is a B Corp certified, carbon
negative business with accreditation testifying to its products being vegan, cruelty
free, RSPO Palm, and Made in UK.

In April 2022 Little Soap Company, which is headquartered in Broadway and makes its products in the UK, was also granted a Queen’s
Award for Enterprise for Innovation for their Eco Warrior range.