It would be a very long list, if we were to tell you what Natalie Hughes did, what she's currently doing, and what initiatives she is involved in… Instead of that we will try to establish what’s most cardinal for her.
What’s the most important thing for you?
Professionally or personally?
Does it matter?
Well, professionally I want to support entrepreneurs fulfil their business ambition. With a focus on female and ethnic minority backgrounds as they face the biggest barriers into entrepreneurship.
Personally - I have a young daughter, so the challenges I have faced in my generation and those that have went before me I want to ensure that she doesn’t have to overcome as many barriers and challenges.
I also like to support local charities and I am doing a sky dive for Derian House Children’s Hospice in June as my next challenge.
What are the main barriers you are talking about, or what are the most important to remove first?
We know that for many entrepreneurs, especially females, one of the main barriers businesses face in terms of growth is access to finance. It can be challenging to know what is right for you and your business at a specific time. Is it debt funding or investment or grant funding, and joining the dots can be tricky.
Another barrier is ensuring you have the right mindset to move forward as an entrepreneur. You may need additional support and coaching so things like NatWest's Accelerator are a great resource for new and developing businesses. Our programmes focus on the entrepreneur instead of simply developing a business. Applications are open for the next intake.
What needs to happen for the situation to change
and those obstacles no longer be a thing?
Continued collaboration across the ecosystem is key. You only know what you know. In my role I work with a range of business support organisations, funders and stakeholders who all want to help businesses so the desire is there but its connecting businesses with the right contacts at the right time which is key.
How are we gonna do it? Is there a perfect/one solution or… What’s the way?
By working together and sharing expertise and best practice. We need to join-up to be effective. At NatWest we have created Regional Taskforces across our key regions which are looking at the issues businesses face. They are made up of business leaders, local politicians and regional experts, and its this joined-approach that can really make a difference.
Who needs to lead this “movement”, who needs to participate?
The entire business ecosystem needs to be involved as businesses are diverse and wide-ranging with different needs.
We believe that kids learn everything at home.
What example or what life do you want to show your kids?
I want my daughter to understand you get out of life what you put in. To reach for the stars and follow her dreams. The world is her oyster.
Can a woman have it all, life and work/life balance, success, money and family time?
Absolutely, and why not. Time is our most precious asset. It can be hard at times but sometimes its ok to say ‘no’ to things.
What’s your time management trick to stay on top of the busy schedule and find time for yourself?
Planning, I have everything in a diary. If it’s not planned in it won’t happen. Even down to gym sessions everything is planned.
What advice do you have for young women out there?
Don’t care what other people think and follow your dreams. Take opportunities that are given to you even if they take you out of your comfort zone because this is were you will learn the most. Keep an open mindset.
How do you keep yours on the positive side of life?
I try to approach everything with a positive mindset, always looking at ways to improve myself and learn new skills. I am human and sometimes life does throw challenges or I have a bad day like everyone else but...
It’s how we pick ourselves up from this. I try not dwell on things and will spend time doing something I enjoy to re-energise myself. I also have a really strong support network around me personally and professionally, and this the absolute key to success.
If you had to or could do it all over again [life, career, etc] - would you change anything… and why?
I believe everything happens for a reason. When I left school my dream was to be hairdresser then after a few weeks on the job I quickly decided I didn’t like it. I then went to uni to be a teacher. Very different to how I thought and realised this wasn’t for me. I was then given an opportunity with NatWest many years ago and my career has been an amazing journey. I have met so many amazing people who have became good friends, I have learned so many skills, took part in so many challenges and I am now in a job I absolutely love.
Somewhere hot and sunny or spending time with my family in Anglesey.
Football or rugby?
Neither really but if I had to choose football.
Tea or coffee?
Neither – Hot water and lemon.
Cats or dogs?
Muffin or donut?
Donut ( the hole in the middle cuts the calories.)
Finish this sentence:
“Life is... short, be yourself don’t let others bring you down."
“Success is... achieving your own personal goals.
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