#YouMeEntrepreneur Meet Lasse Nørby Rasmussen, Gabriela Estrada and Paula Wilkinson

Toni Vicars

By Toni Vicars

December 22, 2020

Meet: Lasse Nørby Rasmussen

“I used to work in innovation in a Nordic bank, Now I’m a co-founder of Heap — the flexible & sustainable pension alternative for freelancers & self-employed”

What was your journey to starting your own business?

I’ve worked in innovation in corporates, consulting and startups most of my career and always wondered how it would be like to be co-founding a business. I felt like I had plateaued on my learning curve in my previous job, so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped at it!

What’s the best thing about being at a startup?

NO MORE POLITICS to slow us down!

I love the fact that we can decide as a team which way to go and then just do it the minute after! No more SteerCos and politics to slow down the process of creating something that customers really want. Love it!

Meet Gabriela Estrada

“I was a Corporate Banker, now I am the co-founder & CFO of Vexi”

What lead you to leave a corporate role?

I got so disillusioned with using all my energy for unknown shareholders, as well as my poor contribution to changing my country and society, that I cofounded a Neobank with the mission to make credit accessible, providing the first credit card for thousands and millions of young underbanked Mexicans.

What has been the best thing about becoming an Entrepreneur?

The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that we can define the execution speed, the priorities, the culture to be deployed, and of course, the freedom to work from wherever you are while building something that is literally changing lives for the better.

Meet Paula Wilkinson

“I once was a sales manager and I have since co-founded an online market place for professional bakers”

Why did you start your own business?

Working at Yellow Pages, and managing multi-million sales targets was not conducive to raising children, therefore my husband and I decided that I would not be returning to employment at that time, and being an ‘older’ mum decided I wanted to concentrate on raising the children. At that time, my husband had been working in IT in London and decided once our daughter was born launched his own IT company in Kent. This gave him time to see the children and I could support when needed, helped with ideas, a sounding board, even leaflet dropping whilst pushing the pram around areas to build his business up.

His business grew from strength to strength and I helped with additional tasks as it grew and took on employees. Having seen my husband create and develop a business and having previously helped thousands of businesses with their Yellow pages marketing, trained salespeople and managed sales teams when I found an idea that I believed in — apart from sanity checking that the idea wasn’t a crazy one (my husband is good at looking at all angles- with many ideas ‘poo pooed’ previously by him!), he gave it his full support and knowing that I had his support I knew we needed to get it off the ground as the ‘eths’ is true and real!- supporting small businesses, reducing the carbon footprint of gifts, putting money into the high street from orders generated from around the world, accepting diversity- people buy the skills of the cake maker ( not the ethnic background/religious background/inclusivity -as people with a disability can create a business in baking, time to help new bakers turn a passion into a legitimate business-contributing to households) etc…

What has been the best thing personally about starting your own business?

Having the time for other things- family ( watching a school rugby match at 2pm in the afternoon!), the recruitment of other companies- and knowing I have also helped them today- (they may be doing a happy dance because of me!)

What advice would you give?

Have a sounding board — people you will be paying will say it’s a great idea (web designers etc…), — ask others!…

You won’t know everything- it’s ok to ask….You won’t know what you don’t know either…I was often found saying — could this be done? How do you do?…..- Everything can be done ( it just comes at a cost!)- nail down what is the simplest form you can launch with and build from there.

Use experts when needed — even if on short term contracts until you can employ more- however, give them time to understand your business.

Plan how to scale whilst planning the business, be prepared to diversify (COVID has forced this on us, and small businesses can adapt quicker)- we have increased turnover during lockdown!

At ASPIRE we believe in the democratisation of entrepreneurship.

The ASPIRE programme is designed for those who want to take the opportunity to redefine what work means to them by starting their own businesses, becoming an entrepreneur.

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