UK President of British Association of Women Entrepreneurs, Co-Founder and Director Piercefield Oliver Ltd
Louise is Co-founder of Piercefield Oliver, a successful Cheltenham based Chartered Financial Planning firm.
Louise is the UK President of the British Association of Women entrepreneurs (BAWE), which is a member of FCEM, the largest international women entrepreneurs group in the world with over 100,000 members represented in 120 member Countries. Louise has represented the UK on behalf of BAWE internationally. The membership is for women who have considerable experience in running their own businesses. BAWE is a network for women focused on optimising business opportunities including international trade and spans most sectors.
Throughout her career she has been a go to financial expert for the media, including BBC breakfast TV, BBC radio 4 Moneybox, a regular panellist for GB news and local radio. Louise also appeared as an expert for a BBC Panorama programme which delved into the investment advice provided by the major high street banks.
Awards include Female Financial Adviser of the Year and Role Model of the Year in Financial Services.
What are the major global business challenges for business leaders today?
"Business leaders are currently having to deal with Brexit, the COVID Pandemic and the war with Russia and Ukraine as well as a tight labour market.
The UK is currently the 6th largest economy in the world, but we have been blighted with low productivity for many years. One of the ways we can seek to address this is by fostering our talent and investing in our next generation.
In the UK we rely far too much on imports. If we look at our manufacturing base it represents around 18% of GDP, we are now largely a service provider. Most of our GDP is from services. We need to invest in our businesses at early stages, and also in the growth stage, support our talented entrepreneurs and not lose them overseas."
What are the opportunities?
"We need to address fostering and investing in our talent and encourage inward investment. We need to move away from the ‘just in time’ mentality and get supplies available – there is a supply chain crisis hitting the global market and the UK.
We have some wonderful business leaders but sadly lack political leadership. Post pandemic hybrid working has been adopted by businesses. It has been a contentious issue. I personally prefer to see teams in the office. I believe people need to be in the workplace to ask questions, to watch, mirror and shadow people to grow. This will promote greater productivity.
There is a move towards sustainability of products and services and the businesses that will do well are those that help the world to bridge that gap to sustainability.
Cyber security is an increasing challenge for businesses all over the globe, in the UK this is an area we have expertise in and the businesses in this sector should continue to thrive.
We have some wonderful entrepreneurs in the UK, we need to keep them and not scare them off will high taxes, a woke workforce and lack of investment."
What skills do business leaders look for?
"Business leaders look for good attitude and a great work ethic – we can teach the rest. You also need a hunger to work in your chosen sector.
Good listening skills and presentation skills are ideal. A good network is important. Don’t just focus on academic achievement. We will look for a degree but equally we can train.
Finally work in a sector or job you love and enjoy doing."
What role do universities play?
"Universities have massive role in the growth of the economy and can help to bridge the gap in talent.
They need to source appropriate placements that are relevant and with a Company that will spend time with students.
Universities need to work closely with businesses."
What does it mean to you to become a Visiting Professor?
"For me being invited into Aston University as a Visiting Professor is an honour. It is encouraging to see Aston University providing access to business leaders.
We can support those who may be disadvantaged or maybe the first in their family to go to university. I have over 35 years in the financial sector and as a business owner this gives me the opportunity to be able to impart that knowledge. In my role as the UK President of BAWE I am in a privileged position to be able to connect students to business leaders across all sectors and internationally.
In summary it allows me to support the next generation, bridge the link between University and business and promote international links."