International Women's Day 2021

Rise is excited to see International Women’s Day take off in so many ways this year. We’re playing our part with practical advice and activities to help female founders and leaders learn as entrepreneurs and grow as individuals.


Throughout the year, Rise chooses to challenge perceptions and to champion women in FinTech with initiatives like the Female Innovators Lab, mentoring for female entrepreneurs and access to investment.

Wherever you are in the world, our Rise sites are hosting and facilitating mentoring events, workshops and creative jams (with our partner Adobe), and we’ve curated a set of resources we hope will inspire and support you.

Join us as we #ChooseToChallenge the status quo and unleash our combined creativity.


  • Mentoring

    FinTech Friday is our free monthly mentoring programme for FinTech startups, where experts share their know-how on various topics in virtual one-on-one meetings. For International Women's Day we had a host of impressive female mentors from across the Rise network join us for FinTech Friday.

    We were also lucky enough to interview a handful of our inspirational female mentors ahead of the events, to better understand what mentoring means to them, the value it can bring to both mentor and mentee, and what they #ChooseToChallenge in the spirit of this year's International Women's Day campaign.

    Jennifer Byrne on the power of mentoring

    Jennifer Byrne Headshot

    Jennifer is Co-founder and President of Quesnay Inc. based in New York. She’s led innovation efforts and transformations in both top, global companies and startups, and is an entrepreneur, a speaker and author, and an advisor on several platforms, including Rise FinTech Fridays. 

    Jenn’s challenges
    • Advocate for a new mentoring mindset in the business world. It'll have tremendous effect on how we train the next generation of women
    • Challenge the VC world to be more open to female investors and female founders. Will VCs start asking the same questions of female founders as they do of male ones?
    Jackie Waring on getting the most out of mentoring
    Jackie Waring Headshot

    Jackie is Founder and CEO of Investing Women Angels, Scotland’s first women-only angel group, and AccelerateHer, which inspires and supports female founders’ journeys to grow and scale through a programme of events and trade missions. 

    Jackie’s challenges
    • Shout about the benefits of mentoring to your networks, colleagues and friends
    • Experience mentoring for yourself, even if you’re not a founder
    • Challenge and involve others in busting those myths about women in business
    Yasmin Ibrahim on the difference mentoring can make

    Yasmin’s career has combined strategic and operations leadership with entrepreneurship and mentoring. She has worked in financial services for many years and led a corporate strategy team at American Express before shifting her focus back to the startup world, helping to empower female founders and providing entrepreneurial advice and mentorship to women. 

    Yasmin’s challenges
    • Challenge the stereotypes of what makes a great male or female entrepreneur      
    •  Rethink the traditional structures of the work day

    Mini Gautam on mentoring in India

    Mini Gautam Headshot

    Mini is Founder and Managing Partner at Arthavat Law and was named one of India’s top 40 lawyers under 40 by Business World. She’s a self-confessed raging optimist especially about the power and future of the startup community. Mini has led mentoring sessions with Rise Mumbai. 

    Mini’s challenges
    • Hold companies to account. They need to give women better opportunities and equality in pay, promotion, exposure and respect
    • Collaborate with male allies. Change will not happen without support from men who are sensitive to the issues

    Naimeesha Murthy on skills-based mentoring

    Naimeesha Murthy headshot

    Naimeesha is the founder of Products by Women, a community platform for women in technology and an alumnus of the Female Founders First programme by Barclays and Techstars. Products by Women now has over 8,000 members in 70+ countries. 

    Naimeesha’s challenges
    • Challenge yourself. Whatever you do, make it count and make it personal
    • Challenge companies to be more flexible with the mothers (and fathers) in their workforce
    • Challenge the way that business has been driven to date: first you build a product, then you acquire customers for it. Try a different way: first you build a community, then you build the product it needs

    Gauri Kuchhal on motivating female founders

    Gauri Kuchhal Headshot

    Gauri is Principal at Artha Venture Fund, a micro-Venture Capital company investing in early-stage startups that solve the challenges of Indian consumers and businesses. Artha Venture Fund is also active with incubators and accelerators. 

    Gauri’s challenges
    • Bust the myth that women can't succees as founders
    • Don't perpetuate the falsehood that, to be a leader, women have to be ball-breakers
    • Think big, think Shakti, be Durga
  • Events

    Rise x Adobe Creative Jam Live: Sparking your Creativity

    As part of this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations around the theme of #ChooseToChallenge, we were so excited to invite all members and associates of the Rise Network to a special Creative Jam LIVE session, hosted by Adobe. In just two and a half hours, attendees walked away with a basic working knowledge of Adobe Spark, and were able to create their own unique social posts, videos and web pages. The session was open to all, with no prior knowledge of, or subscription to Adobe Spark necessary. 

  • Resources
    Creativity Viewpoint
    Why a creative approach is key to business growth

    To celebrate IWD 2021, embracing the theme of #ChooseToChallenge, Rise and Adobe have interviewed four founders who give their top tips on how to embrace creativity to drive business growth.

    Female Innovation Lab

    Helping female founders thrive

    Barclays and Rise are committed to supporting female founders, through programmes, events and connections.

    Dr. Anne-Marie Imafidon

    How to attract more women into tech

    Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, CEO and Co-Founder of Stemettes, on what needs to be done to attract more women into tech careers.

    FFF Podcasts

    Female founder stories

    Listen to our podcast mini-series with each of our founders on the 2020 Female Founders First programme.

    What can founders do to attract women into tech

    What founders can do to attract more women into tech

    Priya Sharma, Co-Founder of ZestMoney believes it's never too early to start building a diverse culture.

    Benefits of mentoring

    Benefits of mentoring in the startup community

    Tips on the benefits of mentoring from experienced mentors and mentees in the startup community.

    Ilana Fass Headshot

    How to make the most out of your mentor

    Ilana Fass, FinTech Platform Lead at Rise New York, discusses mentoring programmes and how to best work with your mentor.

  • 'Her Own Boss' Podcast

    'Her Own Boss' podcast

    Her Own Boss is a podcast created by six graduates at Barclays and is designed to bridge the early careers confidence gap by inspiring and educating young women to find their inner entrepreneur.

    Their main episodes feature the inspirational stories of female founders, CEOs and side hustlers as they share their experiences starting and running a business, while their minisodes offer bite size advice on how to start your own side hustle, build confidence and get ahead in your career.

    Check out their special International Women's Day episode with Melissa Menke, Founder of Access Afya, and Juliet Gouldman, Head of Strategic and External Engagement at Barclay Business Bank, on the right to hear about the importance of championing women across society and how we can better support female founders.

    You can find out more information about Her Own Boss podcast on their website, and be sure to subscribe or follow them on Instagram and LinkedIn to hear the latest on finding your inner entrepreneur. 

    Listen to a selection of episodes/minisodes here

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