Member of the Week - Lara Sheldrake

Meet Lara Sheldrake, social media strategist and creator of Found & Flourish, a female empowerment network, media, and events company. Hello Lara!

Firstly tell us about your business and how why you wanted to start Found and Flourish.

I wanted to create a company that existed to empower women in business to launch, grow and scales the businesses of their dreams. We also promote wellbeing in the workplace, laughter, and embrace our femininity.

We run a popular meet-up called Hugs & Brunch, as we believe connecting and hugs is something many solo-business owners lack in their day to day lives.

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It’s amazing to see companies like yours who exist purely to help others, especially women. Why is that important to you?

The gender pay gap is still very much an issue, there is a disproportionate amount of men to women in leadership roles, there are less female business owners, less women are invested in and there are less female investors.

A few stats:
- 7% of venture capital in Europe was invested in startups that had a woman on its founding team - Women retire with a third of the pension size of men - The World Economic Forum reported last year that it will take 202 years to close the gender pay gap

One of the first ways we can overcome this is by empowering women so that they have the tools and knowledge required to set up their dream business, negotiate more money, become an angel investor, the list goes on. Whatever it is, we need more support within these areas if we are going to see the gender opportunity gap close.

Found & Flourish empowers women by providing them with education, insights, community and business services so that women everywhere feel supported and better equipped to set up and run their dream businesses. We have a podcast called “Bossing it”, a blog packed for of resources and stories from fellow female founders, a bi-monthly newsletter, regular events & workshops PLUS our membership, launching soon!

What advice would you give to a young woman starting out?

Learn to enjoy the process. In life, there is no end-game. All we have is the present moment and how we choose to use it. It is crucial that whatever businesses we endeavour to create, we surrender to embracing the process, rather than viewing it as a means to an end.

Open up and talk to people about your idea or business. Find a community of like-minded women and surround yourself with cheerleaders. Running a business can be an incredibly lonely place so the people you surround yourself with will be your support network when you need it most.

Ask for help. You do not need to have all the answers, all the skills, all the connections and do all the work. Surround yourself with great people and ask them for help.

Choose the adventure. It is better to have risked, failed and lived than to play safe and never know. Choose the adventure, you’ll never regret it.

Where can our members find out about you? Do you have any events in Brighton coming up?

Good question!

Follow us on Instagram for general inspiration and updates, follow us on Eventbrite for all event announcements, read our blog for female founders stories and expert features and finally you can subscribe to our newsletter for tips, tools, resources and community perks.

You can join our membership waitlist here.

We are so happy to have you at PLATF9RM, what made you want to join our community?

I’m so happy to be here and to thrilled to be a part of the PLATF9RM community.

Community is everything to me and having recently moved down from London, I knew I wanted to join a space where our values are aligned. Having met the team; Sunetta, Tara, Emilie and now Jess I just knew that this was a place I’d be incredibly happy and welcomed.

It also helps that PLATF9RM would like to support my mission! Together we will be bringing you loads of great events designed to empower women to launch, grow and scale their dream businesses. If you have any ideas for events you’d like to attend, hit me up! I hope to run my first one in October so watch this space!

What’s the most rewarding thing about running your own business?

Having the freedom to work on something I’m truly passionate about with full creative autonomy.


How long have you lived in Brighton and how does it compare to other places you’ve lived?

I have just moved back to Brighton having been in London for the last 8 years. I studied at Brighton uni and met my husband here so it’s always had a special place in my heart. It’s good to be back by the sea.

What do you see as your greatest achievement?

My son Bodhi, who is 19 months old and the most sociable little dude I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

Finally what do you do to unwind?!

I need to do more of this!! Juggling a business and toddler means I don’t get much time to unwind but I find spending time on the beach has an incredibly calming effect on my mood.

I love listening to podcasts such as “How to unf*ck your brain”, “The guilty Femenist” and “Under the skin”. I also LOVE audible when I get the chance to plug in and have a range of books on the go such as “Open Up” by Alex Holder, “Grit” by Angela Duckworth and “How to fail” by Elizabeth Day. .

Thank you Lara!

If you want to be a member at our space, get in touch for a tour and trial.