Friday 10 March 2017 7:00 am Scottish Development International

How are these five influential women revolutionising the UK tech sector?

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Digital tech: it’s a man’s world right? Lei Jun, Mark Zurkerberg and Bill Gates – all tech testosterone flowing through the veins of the global digital revolution.

But what about in the UK?

In solidarity with International Women’s Day on March 8th, more females than ever are becoming the beating heart and soul of the sector.

So who are the UK female tech leaders challenging this testosterone?

Morna Simpson, founder and programme lead, Girl Geek

Establishing Girl Geek Scotland in 2008, business consultant, Morna has grown the network into a community for people who are working and studying in the creative, computing and enterprise areas.

The organisation now has three teams, working on panel events, mentoring and short courses and hackathons. Events cover cyber security, fintech and legal tech and aim to help people from start to finish in setting up their own businesses.

Simpson began her career in the tech sector in 1998 as a user-experience designer and front-end developer.

Vicky Brock, founder and chief executive, Clear Returns

Online businesses lose £20 billion of sales each year when customers return unwanted goods, which can also have a knock-on effect on the data companies use to make their decisions. Step forward Vicky Brock, who launched Clear Returns in 2012.

The Glasgow-based data company helps retailers to spot patterns among their returned items, allowing them to take remedial action at an earlier stage.

Brock has been named by both and Bloomberg as one of the nine top female tech chief executives to watch and sits on the Scottish Government’s data management board.

Gillian Docherty, chief executive, The Data Lab

Gillian has over 22 years’ experience, working in the IT and fintech sector. She has held a range of senior leadership roles. Gillian carved her formative career working for IBM in London for 22 years, becoming fully immersed in the city’s fast and dynamic tech scene.

In 2015 Gillian  became the chief executive of The Data Lab, one of the eight innovation centres created by the Scottish Funding Council.

With £11.3 million of funding, the Data Lab is charged with helping companies and organisations to create at least 250 jobs and generate a further £100 million for Scotland’s economy.

It’s Gillian's job to lead a team that will help the public and private sectors to harness the power of data. A mover and a shaker in Scotland’s vibrant fintech scene, she was recently listed as one of the most influential people in data-driven business by DataIQ.

Leah Hutcheon, founder and chief executive, Appointedd

This female tech guru came up with the idea for Appointedd when she couldn’t find a hairdresser that would accept an online booking.

Spotting a gap in the market, Leah created a service for small businesses that would allow them to book appointments through their websites.

Appointed has grown arms and legs and now offers a full suite of services, from email and text message marketing through to online payments to companies of all shapes and sizes.

Leah is now encouraging others to follow in her footsteps as an ambassador for Women’s Enterprise Scotland and director of future leaders for membership body Entrepreneurial Scotland.

Rebecca Pick, founder and managing director, Pick Protection

Rebecca is preparing to launch the personal guardian, a discreet personal alarm that notifies police of the location of an attack.

Her company, Pick Protection, was founded in 2014 and its device is already attracting interest from individuals and from companies with lone-workers.

Rebecca became the first undergraduate winner of the Converge Challenge – the business start-up competition for students, graduates and staff at Scotland’s universities. She has gone on to raise £60,000 from Gabriel Investments and £744,000 from Equity Gap, as well as collecting a Scottish Edge prize along the way.

Where in the UK are these women revolutionising the tech sector?