Entrepreneurs want to change things all the time. So says Dr Rebecca Harding, economist and serial entrepreneur.
Rebecca’s career has certainly involved breaking traditions and rattling cages. “I’ve always been a self starter who knows my own mind and has a clear sense of direction in my education and career,” she says.
When her comprehensive school did not offer A’ level German she joined lessons at the local boys’ grammar. Participating in drama clubs and student productions has also helped her throughout her professional life, she says.
At Sussex University Rebecca gained a BA in Economics with German. The interdisciplinary nature of the course has proved very helpful in business life, she says. “It enabled me to study politics, philosophy, economics, sociology and international relations.”
After taking a doctorate in Technology and HR, she began working in academe, which she describes as “a brilliant training for entrepreneurship because academics spend their time generating ideas and thinking of ways to solve problems.”
At London Business School, Rebecca ran the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor — a survey of entrepreneurship worldwide. It helped her understand the power of data in helping people and driving success.
In 2007, Rebecca founded her first company, Delta Economics, and began analysing why people start businesses and the challenges they face achieving growth. Her research showed that their motivation “is more about solving problems and innovating than making money.” It led to her second start-up, Coriolis Technologies, formed in 2017 to provide trade and trade finance data and analytics for the trade finance sector.
“Global trade is worth $21 trillion a year and the value of trade finance is between $15tn and $17tn: 90 per cent of it is still paper-based,” she says. “Digitising global trade is a huge opportunity.”
Rebecca was interviewed by Jane Bird for Archives of IT.
Dr Rebecca Harding on a Passion for Data
Dr Rebecca Harding her Philosophy for Failure
Dr Rebecca Harding on Pioneering an Industry Standard