Having opened the London Stock Exchange and being a regular attendee of events in the House of Commons, it is no wonder Chorley businesswoman Liz Hardwick was named in the Female Founders 101 List for her role in empowering women in the digital field.
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The 33-year-old co-founded DigiEnable in 2012 with Darren Jenkinson and together they offer other businesses and charities across the UK and further afield expertise and training to enhance their digital presence, through social media and web content.
Within this, Liz has made it her mission to make being a geek cool and cut stereotypes of technology and business being a man’s world.
Liz says: “I was inspired when I was reading the amazing things the other women on the Female Founders List do.
“If other women read the list, hopefully it will inspire them too.
People used to hide being a geek but now people are seeing how relevant ‘geeks’ are to business. We are able to help people understand how relevant technology and the online world is to businesses and people’s lives.”Liz Hardwick
“As a female in technology, I feel a duty to support other women to enter into that sector and become more confident in taking on speaking and advocacy roles, and so we made a point of creating extra training specifically for women. There may be females who are interested in the technology industry, but don’t know how to get into it, or are put off by the fact they believe it is dominated by men.
“Only a small percentage of women who start a degree related to technology get a job in that field and an even smaller percentage are visible in the industry. But technology is not going away and there are so many elements in jobs that include a need for it.
“We love what we do. For me, it is cool to be a geek and be passionate about something. I think it has come full circle now. People used to hide being a geek but now people are seeing how relevant ‘geeks’ are to business. We are able to help people understand how relevant technology and the online world is to businesses and people’s lives.”
With a realisation there was a real need for digital support and a passion for the field, setting up DigiEnable, in Chorley, was a natural process for Liz and Darren.
Darren, 39, says: “People were coming to us, asking for help digitally and we realised there was potential to do something. So we came up with DigiEnable - enabling people to use numerous digital platforms for their own goals.
“We started off supporting the third sector, helping charities get their message out and businesses soon came to us for help with their social media and online presence.
“Our aim was always to make businesses self-sustainable and continue hitting and exceeding their marketing targets, even when we were no longer involved. “That was why we extended our scope and now have the training side to our company, as well as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) services.
“We never stop trying to network. We visit businesses to share our message and train people. We are able to help people start up their businesses and make a difference. We deliver social media training, showing people how to build their contacts and websites and how to rank highly on online searches through Search Engine Optimisation.”
Liz and Darren’s influence in the industry has been phenomenal as within two years they were named 29th out of 100 in the UK digital leaders list.
Darren adds: “It was great to be recognised for moving forward. It meant we were now part of the digital leaders alumini, where we get to go to events at the House of Commons to discuss making a difference in the digital sector and Liz got to open the London Stock Exchange in 2016.”
Following this recognition, they have clients all over the country - and even further afield. Whilst they have been working in Italy, Greece, America and Cape Town, there is no place like home. Liz adds: “There is something really cool about working in Lancashire. People are very friendly and always willing to help others.”
For more information visit www.digienable.co.uk