Liverpool digital entrepreneur looking to put spotlight on ‘awesome’ women in business

Ruth Hartnoll runs city centre digital marketing agency J&R and has now launched the #FemaleFounders blog series to highlight women in business. Tony McDonough reports

Ruth Hartnoll
Ruth Hartnoll, owner of Liverpool digital marketing agency J&R. Picture by Robert Peet


Digital entrepreneur Ruth Hartnoll found herself in at the deep end earlier this year when the co-founder of her new agency decided to leave the business just four weeks after launch.

Despite that rocky start, two months on her Liverpool city centre-based digital marketing agency J&R is thriving and it inspired Ms Hartnoll to want to celebrate and promote other women who have started their own businesses.

With this in mind she began publishing a series of blogs under the hashtag #FemaleFounders, shining a light on Liverpool city region’s many female entrepreneurs.

Click here to read the first #FemaleFounders blog

Big challenge

Ms Hartnoll, who has worked in digital content marketing for five years, told LBN: “It was my partner in J&R who had the experience of running businesses so, when he departed, I faced a big challenge.

“As we’re now 100% female-owned and operated, I realised that what I really wanted to be doing was partnering with other female founders and making their businesses as successful as possible.

“People who know me know I am a feminist so I decided I wanted to celebrate these women and their achievements and shout about them and their businesses.”

Specific barriers

She acknowledges that anyone, male or female, starting their own venture will face significant challenges but adds that women can often face specific hurdles – not least of all attitudes of other people

“I know of two female entrepreneurs who went to view new business premises,” she explained. “The property agent who was showing them round made the point of telling them that if they wrote down their business idea on a piece of piece of paper they would see it might not work.

“That was quite a patronising thing to say to them and you have to wonder whether he would have said that if they had been men.”

Shine a light

Ms Hartnoll, who has been supported by the Liverpool-based The Women’s Organisation, already has a pipeline of stories ready to go but she wants to keep up the momentum and is keen for other entrepreneurs to get in touch and relate their experiences for the #FemaleFounders campaign.

She added: “The series will shine a light on their awesome businesses and how they got to be where they are, doing the thing they love.

“Empowered women empower women and my business and blog post series is my small contribution to empowering the #FemaleFounders of Liverpool.”

If you would like to be included in the #FemaleFounders campaign, email Ruth at

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