Of course I would much rather say that we had a ‘thriving’ women entrepreneur ecosystem but striving is a start. We have achieved so much since April 2012 when Melbourne-based startup incubator York Butter Factory caused controversy with it’s tweets that were labeled as ‘sexist’ and derogatory for women entrepreneurs.
In fact it is so exciting to see how far and established the community is – I want to share this freely should you have the desire to connect in to any of these groups.
Heads Over Heels was founded by Dr. Alex Birrell, Janet Menzies & Melissa Widner founded back in 2010 – It has now gathered considerable momentum having supported more than 25 women through the program. Heads Over Heels’ mission is to increase the representation of women leading high growth businesses. Heads Over Heels works with ‘Connectors’ and a select group of CEOs to provide access to the strategic networks required for growth.
Scale Investors founded in March 2013 based on the Golden Seeds investment model from the US. Founded by Carol Schwartz, Susan Oliver, Annette Kimmitt, and CEO Laura McKenzie its aim is equip women to become successful investors whose wealth is enhanced through connection with, investment in, and support of women entrepreneurs in early stage businesses.
Spring Board Australia has come to Australia in the last few years – it has a reach to 33 countries and has empowered more than 240,000 female entrepreneurs in the last 20 years – it is primarily a Women’s development program
Women in Focus by the Commonwealth Bank connects women from all areas of business. It has just held it’s 5th annual conference themed around disruption. “Women in Focus is a community of women who are doing extraordinary things. Our purpose is to open doors for women to the inspiration, information and connections and the opportunities they bring.”
Business Chicks Business Chicks lead by Emma Isaacs was created to bring like-minded souls together – to give women a chance to swap ideas, share stories, and spark inspiration. Focussed on great speakers, events and networking – Business Chicks is busy connecting people.
I come across many other great initiatives supporting women entrepreneurs. I personally have been involved in the Testra Business Womens Awards, and EY Entrepreneur of the Year has special education for it’s female entrepreneurs. The 100 Women in Influence also has a section for business innovation.
There is plenty more activity; Jo Burston has her Inspiring Rare Birds book arriving in every school in Australia in November 2014 – committed to changing how young people view entrepreneurship. There is Women as Entpreneurs who hold great educational events. “We provide women entrepreneurs with information, support and a community in Australia”. Propellher provides mentor matching. The fabulous Suzy Jacobs runs SheBusiness providing group coaching, mentoring, business education, mindset mastery, phenomenal community, support, inspiration and networking
As they say we live in exciting times…. watch this space as I know we will see co-working spaces, incubators and other support networks.
The ‘boys’ from York Butter Factory have apologized so many times…. but women entrepreneurs will become the norm not the exception and I am doing everything in my power to drag other women with me.