On the up · 8 November 2018

The entrepreneur tackling financial exclusion among women

rainchq founder Davinia Tomlinson

Although women outlive men, they typically save up to three times less for later life. Through a broad and practical approach to financial education, rainchq is seeking to change this investment gap.

Davinia Tomlinson was inspired to start rainchq during her ten-year career in the investment management industry. With a negligible number of female investors on her employer’s books, alongside data revealing the clear financial disparity between men and women, the entrepreneur knew this imbalance would create long-term societal issues.

Founded in 2017, rainchq provides women with access to expert and empathetic financial advice via a digital portal that also offers high-quality investment products. Business Advice caught up with Tomlinson to find out more about rainchq and why the fight for greater financial inclusion for women is so pressing in 2018.

  1. Who are you and what is your business?

I’m Davinia and I’m the founder of rainchq, a new concept in financial services designed to help women take control of their financial futures through access to financial education, an introduction to a qualified and regulated financial adviser, and invitations to events focused on all aspects of holistic wellness from financial through to physical.

  1. What inspired you to start rainchq?

I started rainchq over a decade after I began my career in the investment management industry. Back then, the proportion of female investors was low and over the years that picture has barely improved. With research showing that despite living longer than men, women are saving up to 3 times less for later life, it is clear there is a huge problem that needs to be addressed.

As a mum of two young girls, it’s even more important to me that I am able to make a contribution to empowering women to set solid financial foundations for themselves as early as they possibly can.

  1. What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when launching?

Lack of funding is the biggest one – bootstrapping a business is no mean feat but often it’s the only way to prove your concept before you can convince anyone to invest.

Secondly, feedback from a small minority who questioned the viability of a business focused exclusively on women.

  1. What are the factors driving financial exclusion among women?

Firstly, the gender pay gap, which almost needs no introduction. In short, as a result of receiving lower pay than men for equivalent work, we effectively have lower disposable income, which has a knock-on effect on the amount of money we have to save and invest. Mothers are particularly badly affected by this with a significant proportion of the gender pay gap attributed to childbirth as many women return to work part-time after starting a family or fall out of the workforce entirely for extended career breaks or for good

Then the gender investing gap, which reveals that despite being diligent savers, women disproportionately save into cash, a trend attributed to women’s relative lack of confidence in investing when compared with men, despite the fact that stocks and shares investments are almost certain to outperform cash over the long term; and,

Finally, the financial services industry overall is notoriously masculine, from the boardrooms through to the communications produced for its customers, leaving many women feeling alienated and as though it is not designed with them in mind.

  1. What is your greatest achievement to date?

Completing my MBA as a parent to a then 2-year-old, while working full time and, by the end, pregnant with my second daughter.

  1. What advice do you have for women wanting to start their own business?

1) Surround yourself with supporters who can help keep you upbeat during the inevitable tough times, people who you trust to offer you constructive feedback, 2) don’t overthink it – we quite often put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do everything perfectly but if we await perfection before starting a business we’d never do it, sometimes you have to just leap and 3) make sure you have a financial safety net for at least the first 12 months so you don’t need to worry about paying the bills and can focus all your efforts on your business.

  1. How do you handle knockbacks?

There’s a lesson in every setback so I take the time to reflect on what I could do differently in future and then keep moving.  I never dwell.

Quickfire…

  1. Who are your business heroes?

Jo Malone, Sharmadean Reid and Arianna Huffington among many others.

  1. What three things can’t you live without?

My daughters, lip balm and music!

  1. Which app do you use the most?

I want to say the calm app but in reality, it’s FT.com

  1. What song is always on your playlist?

Umi Says by Mos Def.

Championing female founders

Our Women in Micro Business series has been profiling the founders of promising UK startups to construct a community of female business owners.

To nominate yourself or somebody else for our weekly series, get in touch at editors@businessadvice.co.uk

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Simon Caldwell is deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and communications from the University of Liverpool, and has previously worked as a content editor in local government and the ecommerce industry.

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