Beckie Taylor is the founder of Tech Returners, an initiative to empower people back into work after a career break by either refreshing their tech skills or teaching them from scratch to pursue a career in the sector. She talks to BQ about her journey so far and what inspired her to start the business.
Tell us about your business, what does it do?
Tech Returners supports people returning to, or entering, the tech industry after a career break. We do this by providing support across three areas:
What did you do before you started this business?
I have worked in HR for the past 15 years, with the last 10 years spent in tech. My most recent role was global head of HR for a high growth SaaS business in Manchester, my role focused on scaling the business through the importance of people.
What inspired you to start up?
Having taken a career break myself when I had my son Ethan, I felt I had lost my network and skills – both impacting my confidence. I felt I couldn’t be the only one who was going through this. I co-founded Women in Tech North, which is a community meet-up group where we have over 750 members, and I was regularly being asked to talk about my experiences. This led to Tech Returners being born. It started off as a personal passion which has led to changing people lives!
How would you describe your business to your grandma?
We support people returning to work in tech or wanting to start a new career in tech by teaching software skills, helping them work on live projects and supporting them with their own personal development such as CV writing and interview technique.
Where do you get advice, support or help?
I have an amazing team that I couldn’t do anything without, and of course my family and friends. I have a fantastic support network which has continued to grow over the years.
Finance is one of the most common barriers to starting up. How did you access the finance you needed?
We bootstrapped the projects from our successful business – CLOS consultancy.
What has been your biggest achievement so far?
After only six months, we were nominated as a finalist for a Northern Power Women award for Innovation. If we can do that in six months, where will we be in six years!?
How do you differentiate your business from others?
We stay true to our visions, mission, values and goals, not getting distracted by others.
What’s it like to be your own boss?
I love it. It allows me to have the flexibility to take my son to school and be there at the gates when he finishes – something which is important to us all at Tech Returners for different reasons. We work on output not time.
Where do you see your business in five years' time?
We will have acquired our own space – a Tech Returners’ Hub – where will provide training and development, a co-working space and the ability to provide child care on site (which is one of the main barriers to returning and upskilling after a career break), something that we then aim to replicate across the UK. We will have contributed to the number of women in tech and we want to support people changing their lives for the better.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
Never, ever give up. People have put me down in the past, personally and professionally, but surrounding yourself with the right people and having that belief has got me to where I am today.
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