Natwest Business - Female Focus: #BeTheRoleModel
As part of Natwest's campaign with Getty Images to change the image of female-led entrepreneurship, the owner of Suffolk-based Citrus Sharp Security Shredding, Jules Shorrock, tells her business story.
“I hope these stories will motivate more women to kick-start the adventure of founding a business”
Citrus Sharp Security Shredding provides confidential paper shredding services to individuals and organisations of all sizes and sectors in the East of England.
Founder Jules Shorrock says she has always been ambitious in business. “When I left college in London, I worked for three corporate companies before my 30th birthday. By then, I wanted more job satisfaction and was employed by a small data-shredding business. After two takeovers, three key staff including myself used our savings as capital to launch our own data-shredding and recycling business.”
Shorrock says the team were driven by a passionate belief that they could make a difference in the industry. “We were customer focused and provided cutting-edge innovation, award-winning CSR [corporate social responsibility] and 24-hour care that large corporate clients valued. Environmental management has always influenced my business model, and I am proud to have maximised recycling and minimised waste for many grateful corporations.”
After selling the business in 2007, Shorrock and her family moved to Suffolk so that her son could spend more time with her elderly parents. “By 2014 I wanted a new challenge, so I founded Citrus Sharp Security Shredding to fill a gap in the local market.”
After a year that saw many businesses suffer, Shorrock says she is relieved to have kept trading and to have retained all staff and customers through such uncertain times.
“2020 was, more than ever, about caring for our communities, staying in touch, listening, learning and adapting quickly to survive,” she says. “I value the inspiration that peer-to-peer networking has stimulated. To grow our market share we added online ordering options, and diversified into security-shredding and recycling old uniforms. I sourced an innovative product and unique service offering for the increasing numbers of residents and homeworkers who are contacting my business. We also benefited from the publicity of Citrus being selected as a finalist in the 2020 Suffolk Business Awards.”
Pushing to continually improve the business has helped it to retain existing customers and attract hundreds of new buyers, says Shorrock.
Being invited to be the first woman to chair Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Lowestoft and Waveney was both a personal career highlight and an eye-opening experience for Shorrock. “For three years I represented the voice of businesses in many meetings, sometimes being the only woman in the room. As vice chair of Suffolk Business Women, a branch of the Suffolk Chamber, I also campaign for equality, encouraging many women to be more confident and assertive, and pushing more businesses to embrace diversity.”
“I think this initiative will lead the way in encouraging more long-term investment in female founders, which will in turn stimulate innovation and sustainable economic growth”Jules Shorrock, owner, Citrus Sharp Security Shredding
Supporting communities is important to Shorrock, so she was also honoured to be invited back to her old high school to speak to students: “It was lovely to be a guest speaker and present awards to children aged five to 17. The celebration was wonderful, and well worth the time taken to prepare a talk suitable for 400 children, attendant parents and grandparents. It would be fantastic if more business people could make time to mentor students and support local schools with career days, as they are always interesting and extremely heart-warming meetings that help students and schools make valuable contacts.”
Her advice to other women looking to launch a business is to ensure they are confident that their product or service has a unique selling point. “It helps to attend an investment readiness programme to better appreciate how the investment process works. It will also help you understand how to leverage all the positive aspects of your business in order to identify and secure the most appropriate investor that really understands you, and feels as passionate about growing the business as you do.”
On being featured in the bank and Getty Images’ Female Focus #BeTheRoleModel initiative, Shorrock says: “I hope these stories will motivate more women to kick-start the adventure of founding a business, and becoming a great boss.
“The Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship evidences the obstacles challenging ambitious women, and I think that the bank and Getty’s initiative will lead the way in encouraging more long-term investment in female founders, which will in turn stimulate creativity, innovation and sustainable future economic growth globally and locally.”
NatWest and Getty Images have partnered to launch a nationwide campaign and competition to tackle stereotypes of female founders and help create a more inclusive visual landscape that shows entrepreneurs as they really are. You can find out more details, including how to enter, here. Terms and Conditions apply.