One of the rising stars of the North’s business scene has revealed how she’s resisted calls to relocate her startup to London because she wants to grow the North’s tech ecosystem.

Georgina Fairhall – but known to everyone as George – was speaking in Sheffield last night at the launch event for Yorkshire Tech Climbers  2024.

Nominations are entries are now open for this year’s Yorkshire Tech Climbers and Fairhall spoke about the challenges of raising money and her commitment to the North.

She launched WAC in 2020, one week before the country went into a national lockdown, and last year topped the TechRound’s 29Under29 list, which showcases Europe’s most innovative companies and initiatives founded by people under the age of 29.

WAC’s app, which enables workers from all sectors to track their hours, add their rota and get live payslip estimates, has been downloaded more than 300,000 times.

Fairhall has raised £1m in investment but admitted that the relentless experience has, at times, left her ‘broken’.

“I’m probably a bit of a broken woman,” she admitted. “It’s definitely taken a lot of resilience. I’m in the position I’m in because I have a B2C business. It was non-revenue so it was harder to raise funding compared to some other companies.

“It just had to be a hustle in that pre-seed phase, which has involved contacting thousands of investors on LinkedIn, running out of money a number of times and just being really focussed on objectives and reaching those next milestones with the funding.

Leeds entrepreneur aims to build £13m turnover business

“We’ve had just over 300,000 downloads and have hit 130 countries. We’re really moving from startup to scaleup now.”

She wants to reach £13m turnover in three years and said initiatives like Yorkshire Tech Climbers were vital to the region and businesses like hers.

“It’s so important to be able to showcase the amazing businesses that are up North,” she said.

“Just from my personal experience I have found it difficult to find companies like mine in the North but I’ve stuck it out and I hope to be able to exit one day and be able to help other B2C businesses to continue to growth this ecosystem in the North.”

Fairhall is originally from Sussex but has resisted calls to relocate her business to London.

“I found it quite difficult to raise for my type of business up North,” she explained. “A number of my investors are from the South. I think it is important to grow the ecosystem up North so we can have more of those investors investing in businesses like mine.

“If I move down to London that wouldn’t happen so I stuck it out and we’ve had some amazing press and we probably wouldn’t have had that recognition if we’d moved down to London because we’ve had been part of a much bigger pond.”

Yorkshire Tech Climbers 2024 is now on the hunt for the fastest-growing, innovative tech businesses across the region.

Anna Heyes, CEO of Active Profile and the founder of Tech Climbers, said: “Yorkshire Tech Climbers showcases and celebrates the amazing tech stories that are happening in the region.

“We’ve officially opened the entries to this year’s list and will be closing those entries on May 10th and we hope we get a flurry of tech companies coming forward for the main list and ones to watch list.

“We decided to hold the launch event for Tech Climbers in Sheffield because we’re committed to the whole of Yorkshire.

“It can be easy to focus on what’s going on around Leeds, which has an established tech ecosystem, but you can tell from the launch event how many great businesses there are elsewhere in county and we want to celebrate them.”

Yorkshire Tech Climbers List 2023

The launch event for this Yorkshire Tech Climbers 2024 took place in Sheffield’s Trafalgar Warehouse and was hosted by BusinessCloud’s executive editor Chris Maguire.

The other speakers were: Ben Hawley, manager of Digital Media Centre (DMC), Barnsley; Laura Burton, director, TMT sector lead, BDO; Dharam Shadija, head of department of computing at Sheffield Hallam University; Jonathan Pollard, partner, Ward Hadaway; Tom Wolfenden, CEO, Sheffield Technology Parks; Linda Broughton, director of technology, Contribly; Chris Iveson, CEO, FourJaw Manufacturing Analytics; Glenn Fletcher, CEO, Tribosonics; and James Ridgeway, CTO and co-founder, The Curve

The headline partners were: BDO, TD Synnex and Ward Hadaway. The ecosystem partners were: Climb24; Leeds Digital; Sheffield Hallam University; West Yorkshire Combined Authority; DMC; Sheffield Technology Parks; UK Tech Week; York and North Yorkshire Combined Authority. The national partners are: techUK; HubSpot; The Data City; and InnovateHer.

The event was organised by Active Profile with BusinessCloud and TechBlast acting as proud media partners.

Enter Yorkshire Tech Climbers 2024 here