A BUSINESSWOMAN who has set up her own furniture comparison website is hoping to inspire other female entrepreneurs to take risks.

Deirdre Mc Gettrick is the co-founder of Kuldea – an online platform connecting people to furniture products from retailers across the entire market.

The 31-year-old came up with the idea after struggling to furnish her own home, which inspired her to create an online marketplace to make home shopping as straightforward, efficient and fulfilling as possible.

She took the big step of quitting her job in investment banking earlier this year, to focus her energy full time on Kuldea alongside her business partner and fiancé Ray Wright.

Now, Deirdre hopes her success will inspire other women, saying: “I’m a female founder of a tech company which unfortunately is really rare. Most tech companies have male founders. There seems to be something missing where either women aren’t taking the risk or aren’t getting the funding.”

She added: “I think women are more cautious and risk adverse to begin with. A guy sees a job spec with ten items and can do four and thinks ‘I will go for it’ whereas a woman sees it and can do seven and thinks ‘I can’t do that’. I think women need the confidence to go for it.”

Deirdre has managed to secure various funding for Kuldea, and was part of SETsquared Basingstoke, which supports start-ups, operating much of the business in the early days from Desklodge, a co-working space in Basing View.

She said: “A start-up is a very risky thing to do, it puts a lot of people out of their comfort zone and there were times when I underestimated how much of a challenge it would be. But the thing that pushed me to take the risk was really to challenge myself. My Dad has his own business and I was involved in that and I thought one day I would like to have my own business. I want to look back and be proud of what I’ve achieved.”

Combining her passion for interior design and business skills, Deirdre can utilise both her creative and corporate sides with Kuldea.

She came up with the idea two years ago, and the business has since gone from strength to strength, with 46 retailers on the website and more to follow soon.

“I left my job in April, and to actually do it is very different to thinking about doing it and planning it. All of your safety blanket is gone and the security of your monthly salary. It was scary but the underlying belief in the company gave me the confidence to go for it,” she said.

Deirdre and Ray now hope to employ more people to join the team over the next year.

The couple’s different skills enable them to work well together as a team, with Deirdre recognising how tough it must be to launch a business completely on your own.

“I speak to people about the loneliness element because you are constantly making decisions. For us, having each other to bounce those ideas off is great. It’s much easier if there’s two of you.”

However, working together as a couple does pose challenges. “We are both very driven people and I definitely respect him so much more for his dedication to the business. We have a very different skills set with his background more in marketing and tech. But we are both quite stubborn, and sometimes he thinks we should go one way and I think we should go another. In those instances, we get third party validation.

“Going home and switching off that’s hard to do. Even if you go for a walk, something business related pops into your head and the temptation is to talk about it. We tend to go out with friends so we can’t talk about business. We do need a break sometimes.”

Offering advice to other women hoping to launch their own business, Deirdre said: “There’s a lot of support out there. We were part of SETsquared which is a government funded incubator. There’s a lot of support for women in business. It’s about investigating what’s out there. If you have an idea you believe in, push ahead and go with it.”