Female Founder Focus: Ellen Armsden, Crewdentials

Here at the Digital Greenhouse, we're proud to celebrate the remarkable achievements of women leading the way in the entrepreneurial landscape. In our "Female Founder Focus" series, we delve into the inspiring stories of these trailblazers, showcasing their journeys, the challenges they've overcome, and the invaluable insights they've learned along the way.


We'd like to introduce you to Ellen Armsden, Co-Founder of Crewdentials! Crewdentials delivers software solutions and tools to manage seafarer information, this came from a frustration with the lack of standardisation or interoperability of seafarer information between systems and stakeholders.

Ellen is a member of the Digital Greenhouse coworking space and joined us at Showcase Guernsey in London in 2023 to present her Guernsey business to global investors and partners, she will also be presenting her business at Innovation Summit Guernsey this year. We caught up with Ellen to hear about her innovative journey in the world of maritime operations.

Q. Tell us all about your business! What is your origin story, and the highlights of your entrepreneurial journey? 

Crewdentials started in the early hours of the morning in 2019.  Dan was onboarding crew for a new vessel and was surrounded by laptops, paper and PDF certificates. We’d been bouncing around ideas for a start-up for years, and we knew then that the industry needed a better way to manage seafarer credentials. We were lucky enough to meet our co-founder a matter of months later - he’s a software genius.  

Highlights include our new software release last month which is generating so much awesome feedback from existing leads and the industry. Respected voices in the industry describing the tech as game-changing and inspiring is incredible. 


Q. Throughout your entrepreneurial journey, what has been the most significant challenge you have overcome, and how did you navigate it?

On a personal level, I would probably say speaking at events.  I benefited massively from some coaching with the super Trish Ramsey to help me understand how people listen and digest information.  I totally changed my approach and now speak with less detail but more passion.    

Digital Greenhouse and Tekex events have been a great safe space to increase confidence and I ended up in Hong Kong last year presenting to an audience of 3,000 in person and live-streamed.  I actually loved it!  I know this sounds a bit cliche but I really find meditative breathing helps hugely, the Calm app is great.

"You can’t control how people perceive you but you can control how you react to those perceptions, and even use them to your advantage."

Ellen Armsden

Q. As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, have you encountered any unique challenges or biases? If so, how have you addressed them, and what advice would you give to other women facing similar situations?

I might be completely oblivious but I don’t feel that being female has held me back in any way in my legal career, or with Crewdentials.   Possibly because the people who matter have never given me a reason to think I can’t do something, or that being female is a problem that I need to overcome.   

You can’t control how people perceive you but you can control how you react to those perceptions, and even use them to your advantage.     

That’s not to say we shouldn’t do more to change the needle on systemic and societal diversity issues, for example, by increasing the funding going into female-led start-ups!


Q. Who are your female role models in the business/ tech industry?

Martha Lane Fox, a founder of  I use a quote from her repeatedly "You can’t add digital to a broken process. You just get a broken, digital process".  Having the best tech mind isn’t enough - you need to be able to understand a process and think differently.   

Also, Bonnie Garmus, the author of Lessons in Chemistry.  She was a copywriter in the tech industry and presented a million-dollar campaign to a room full of male colleagues to be greeted with silence.  A male colleague then repeated her presentation verbatim to be greeted with congratulations.  That inspired her novel and the female main character.  


Q. What advice would you give to aspiring female entrepreneurs who are hesitant to take the first step?

You don’t have to set out to change the world, but nothing can change until you take the first step.  If you have something you believe in and serves a purpose, whether that is flexible work around other commitments, channelling a creative side, or bringing your skills to the world, then give it a go.  

Set yourself some parameters outside of which you won’t go.  Subject to those, it's ok to fail. 

Don’t underestimate how hard it will be - but I would do it all over again. 

And - don’t believe for a second that everyone knows exactly what they’re doing - male or female! 


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