More often than not, business is about looking at how things have been done before and having the courage and imagination to reinvent the rules. That’s what Anne Boden did when she created Starling Bank, an app-based bank for personal and business current accounts. Born out of her determination to give customers control over their money, Starling strives to be fast, adaptable, friendly and supportive – just like a murmuration of starling birds.

Starling is all about questioning old logic and disrupting the established order. That’s why it’s built an app-based bank to suit the lifestyles of millions of people who live their lives on their phone. With no branches, it’s able to offer 24/7 customer service. Another example is its sleek debit card, which has a vertical design and is reflective of the way we use them today: inserted into card machines, ATMs or tapped to make a contactless payment. Portrait makes sense.

In this series, the Great British Entrepreneur Awards shines a light on other entrepreneurs who, like Anne Boden, are pioneers of change.

In the first edition, they meet Starling customer Dot McCarthy, who runs Cronkshaw Fold Farm and Study Centre.

Farming is one of the most ancient and traditional industries in Britain. But, of course, it’s constantly evolving as a result of modern technology and new customer demands.

“Hill sheep farming hardly makes any money,” explains Lancashire farmer Dot McCarthy. “It’s heavily subsidised, it’s hard work, long hours, little pay. It’s also not currently as environmentally-friendly as it could be.”

Dot, 31, is out to change that, turning Cronkshaw Fold Farm into a business with multiple revenue streams and sustainable sources of energy.

When her brother decided not to take on the farm, Dot was faced with the decision of losing the family farm all together or taking it on while studying for her post-graduate degree at Manchester University.

“I realised I could potentially do a lot more to help mitigate climate change by running the farm, maybe more than I could through working as a scientific researcher,” she says.

“Few people are listening to scientists at the moment, but they are listening to business people making money. I thought if I could make money from an environmentally-friendly business, others would follow suit. We have to make the right thing to do the easiest thing to do.”




You can read the full feature on the Great British Entrepreneur Awards.