Women in innovation: Dr Jackie Mulligan of ShopAppy.com

As part of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, we have spoken to two female innovators in our region to celebrate their achievements, find out about their work and what it means to be a female in their industry, as well as sharing their advice to other women who are looking to innovate.

As part of International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021, we have spoken to two female innovators in our region to celebrate their achievements, find out about their work and what it means to be a female in their industry, as well as sharing their advice to other women who are looking to innovate. Our other interview with Maddie Julian of DigiBete can be found here.

Dr Jackie Mulligan, Founder and CEO of ShopAppy.com

1. Can you tell us a bit about what you do?

I established and now manage a digital platform called ShopAppy.com, where people can browse, book and buy local online with click/collect and home delivery. We are in over 150 towns and cities across the UK championing localism so that more communities can support local more easily and get convenience with a conscience.

2. How has being a female impacted your career in innovation?

It is tougher, no doubt about it. In technology there is a stereotypical individual, they are young, white and male; so we need more diversity. The odds are against you for investment with only 1p in every £1 being invested in women owned businesses. That means women are running businesses in a more resourceful and less wasteful manner, which has to be good for investors!

I make a point of supporting initiatives that help women to succeed and gain leadership opportunities, because we need to level up. Innovation is about diversity – combined ideas based on different perspectives and backgrounds, so having so much of our future dominated by one gender and race is very problematic and we need to address this urgently. When representing our business at events, I hope that I will inspire women to take the leap, because whilst it is tough, it’s very satisfying.

3. What are you most proud of in your career?

Having a business that continues to grow after nearly five years, establishing the UK’s first truly place-centred digital marketplace, that many are imitating now is also positive. I am proud we are staying ahead and our mission to change the game for our high streets has been recognised by our partnership with Visa and NatWest in recent months.

4. Who inspires you?

Any woman who has made it; made a success of their business – women like Fay Sharpe, an entrepreneur and event professional, who has created, managed, and led great businesses and helped other women in the events industry by raising the issue of gender inequalities.

I am inspired by the many local businesses managed by people who are juggling their lives to keep their businesses going in these more turbulent times. I am inspired by women in research, place management and the many women in my team, who show incredible motivation and get things done.

5. What one piece of advice would you offer to other female innovators?

Running your own business is one of the most challenging things you will ever do, be tenacious, ask for help and know your weaknesses – that way you will be able to find the more talented people that will help you achieve your vision. Be afraid, but confidence will come – paths are made by walking.

 

Innovation for everyone is the LEP’s recently launched Innovation Framework which will guide future activity and investment to support innovation in the Leeds City Region. The ambition is to encourage a place for inspiration, to build an inclusive, thriving innovation ecosystem where SMEs, entrepreneurs and individuals are inspired to innovate.

If you’re looking for support with an innovation project, our Innovation Team can help. The LEP’s Innovation Growth Managers work with you to understand your business’ needs and advise on the relevant support available. The KTN also offers more information specifically about the support available for women in innovation.