Claire Heron-Maxwell, owner of Newquay-based business Sprout Health Foods, has been selected as one of 15 women to front a national campaign by NatWest to improve the way female entrepreneurs and business leaders are represented in media and advertising.

NatWest has partnered with Getty Images on the Female Focus campaign to create a new gallery of images on to illustrate the diversity of female-led businesses in the UK.

The campaign comes at a significant time as research commissioned by the bank in conjunction with YouGov shows that female entrepreneurs have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, compared with men.

As has been the case for many businesses, trading in 2020 proved a challenge for Sprout Health Foods.

Claire Heron-Maxwell explains: “Fortunately, we were classed as an essential business as we stock food, cleaning products, and immune-supporting nutritional supplements. We did have to make adaptions – such as rapidly listing our stock online so customers had the option of creating a basket of good, which they could then collect from the shop.”

The business also teamed up with a local Mexican street food vendor to deliver to addresses in the town and surrounding villages, as well as creating more outdoor seating to allow for changes in coronavirus tier restrictions.

Commenting on the Female Focus campaign, she said: “It has encouraged me to take time to reflect on my journey as a business owner and the overall success of our enterprise.

“I never imagined I would want to work for myself, but when the time was right, it was a great move to make. As everyone says, it is hard work, but there is lots of support out there when you need it.”

The new Getty Images gallery features a range of NatWest’s own customers and depicts women of all ages and backgrounds working across a diverse spectrum of industries including farming, blacksmithing, recycling, sustainable business, technology and wellness, and also reflects the impact of the pandemic on how certain sectors operate.

The partners will continue to add images to the gallery with NatWest now opening the project up and asking the general public to nominate inspiring female business owners to be photographed and featured.

The next 15 women selected to take part in the campaign will receive 1:1 coaching sessions and business support from NatWest as well as a photoshoot with Getty Images in addition to being featured as part of the image gallery.

For more information on NatWest’s support for female entrepreneurs, and to nominate women to feature in the next series of shoots, click here.