Photo by Luke Matthews

A newly-launched initiative, supported by Lloyds Bank, has announced multi-award-winning entrepreneurs, Tara Attfield-Tomes and Hephzi Pemberton as co-chairs. The Lifted Project is a nationwide initiative that is creating regional growth boards in five cities across the UK, in a bid to make high-growth entrepreneurship more accessible to women outside of London and the South East.

The Lifted Project was set up by Zandra Moore, Co-founder and CEO of Panintelligence, an award-winning business intelligence software based in Leeds. It was established as a result of a recommendation from a new government taskforce established to boost private investment in women-led businesses across the UK.

The project has created five Regional Growth Boards in Birmingham, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Leeds and Newcastle with the aim of increasing the number of female-founded high-growth enterprises by 50% within three years. The initiative is backed and supported by Lloyds Bank and is being led by Lifted Ventures.

Lifted Ventures, co-founded by Jordan Dargue and Helen Oldham, is an early-stage investment connector, existing to increase the flow of early-stage capital to female founders, and to promote the business benefits of backing women.


Research has confirmed that there is a higher proportion of high-growth enterprises, founded by women, in the South East than elsewhere in England due to easier access to funding, connections, knowledge sharing, talent, and customer base.

Despite this, a 2022 report by law firm Shoosmiths found that from the 363,212 active companies that were identified in the West Midlands, 17.1% were female-led. This puts the region as one of the best for female entrepreneurs in the UK.

The Birmingham-based growth board is set to be co-chaired by Tara Attfield-Tomes, the founder and Managing Director of multi-award-winning PR agency, EAST VILLAGE. Tara’s vision when establishing her company was to empower women and underrepresented founders, creating a more level playing field through the power of PR.

Tara’s commitment to equality extends beyond her PR work. In addition to being the board chair of The Lifted Project for Birmingham, Tara has also set up The 51% Club, a community to help female founders scale through community, events, and better access to resource. She is also the Chair of TechWM’s Women in Tech Special Interest Group, Governance Board member of Ethical Equity, and committee member for TAG Network Midlands’ Women in Leadership Network; spearheading multiple regional initiatives to increase equality across investment, leadership, and skills.

“Whilst Birmingham has a well-connected ecosystem for early-stage entrepreneurs, we’re still missing the coordination and influence needed to really create change for female founders who want to scale. This lack of focus – and funding – means that incredible women-led businesses are either leaving the region or, worse than that, not reaching their potential” said Tara.

“We have to make some radical changes to the funding landscape; not just providing better access, but also ensuring that more women hold the purse strings on investment boards and as angel investors. I am truly honoured to be co-chairing The Lifted Project alongside Hephzi; this strategic board has some ambitious goals and I am determined to change the world for female founders.”

Supporting Tara as fellow co-chair is Hephzi Pemberton, serial entrepreneur and current CEO and founder of Honordex. Honordex is a revolutionary data platform that provides insights into the full range of social value metrics to help companies better understand and track their progress over time and benchmark against peers.

Prior to founding Honordex in 2023, Hephzi founded Equality Group, the tech-enabled Equality, Diversity and Inclusion consultancy that helps companies diversify their teams, build more inclusive cultures and develop data-led equality across industries. She also founded the #NotWithMyMoney campaign, calling on Jeremy Hunt and Rachel Reeves to review the current investment practices and ensure that taxpayer money is being channeled more equitably.

Through their leadership, the Birmingham Growth Board will support female entrepreneurs using real-time data sets provided by Leeds based tech companies, PanIntelligence and The Data City. The sustainable data model will underpin regional activities, drive the strategy and accelerate momentum, while allowing for progress to be monitored.

In June, Tara and Hephzi will host their first regional roundtable event which aims to bring together founders, investors and regional stakeholders to discuss the imbalance in the region and how the board can harness the power of data to provide female founders with better pathways of support.

The outcome of the roundtable event centred around how to support better access to capital, networks, advice and acceleration, as well as building a community of like-minded entrepreneurs and role models to catalyse and support female founder growth.

“I am thrilled to be a member of the newly formed Birmingham regional Growth Board, on behalf of Lloyds Bank, in partnership with the Lifted Project. The Lifted Project represents a powerful stride towards bridging the gap in support of, and opportunities for, women entrepreneurs in Birmingham and beyond. As a woman who began her professional career in Birmingham, this initiative deeply resonates with me, and I am excited to drive change and support our women entrepreneurs in the region. The project aligns perfectly with Lloyds Bank’s commitment to supporting women-led businesses to scale. We understand that fostering women-led businesses is not just about financial investments, it’s about creating environments where women’s ideas thrive, reshaping our economic landscape.” – Hannah Ellis, Business Manager Corporate Coverage