A female tech entrepreneur who was born in Salford has been honoured by the city’s university.
Wendy Tan White was born in Salford Hope hospital, now the Royal Infirmary and lived in Moss Side in her younger years. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Salford Business School at the ceremony in the Lowry, Salford Quays.
After working for accountancy firm Arthur Andersen for a couple of years, Wendy was instrumental in setting up the first ever internet based bank, Egg, in the late 1990’s. She was CEO and co-founder of the Moonfruit DIY website builder sold to Yell Group and is now a technology investor, advising BGF the £2.5bn growth capital fund, on the board of TechNation, the Alan Turing Institute for AI and the government Digital Economy Council, she is an advocate for women in the tech sector. She received an MBE in 2016 and mentors start-up businesses.
Wendy, who has two children, said: “Technology is such a wonderful field to work in, I feel so lucky to be involved with it. My mind-set is that I should be able to do anything I want.”
“Technology will change the world of work in the coming years and the UK has the opportunity to become a world leader in the development of artificial intelligence, we can help create entirely new types of businesses in the coming years. ”
“I believe that if anyone, men or women, puts enough effort in they should be able succeed in the industry. In the 80’s there were a lot of women working in the tech industry but it developed a geeky image in the 90’s and I think that put a lot of women off.”
“I have met women who have faced issues working in tech and some are still put off by the reputation of it, and that is a problem. At the moment just 3% of venture capitalists are women, hopefully that will increase in the future, as that could lead to more opportunities to women with great business ideas.”
Being born in the city is not Wendy’s only connection with Salford University. Her parents met while studying at the University in the 1960’s. Her father was an Electrical Engineer and mother a midwife.
Wendy added: “They were both on the Salford University badminton team and that is how they first met. My mum then went back to university to study technology and that helped to drive my passion.
“It is a great feeling to be recognised by Salford University, just a few miles up the road from where I was born and where my parents met, it just makes it an extra special day.”
Dr Maria Kutar of the University of Salford Business School put Wendy forward for the award. She said: “It’s amazing to see such a successful and inspirational woman receive an honorary doctorate from Salford. She has had a huge influence in the sector and her work mentoring so many new start-ups is vital to keep the country at the forefront of technology and matches our own aims of giving students the opportunity to maximise their potential.”