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Naomi Simson events entrepreneur

Group photoOf 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.





Reader Interactions


  1. Wonderful article, thanks for sharing these resources, I look forward to connecting with these groups soon. Thanks again!

  2. Thanks Naomi. I think this is an incredibly exciting time for female entrepreneurship in Australia, especially with our country being rated so highly on conditions supportive of women entrepreneurs. I was wondering what your view is on the opportunities for different entrepreneurship networks to work together in partnership, both for women entrepreneurs and for entrepreneurship in general? It seems like there would be lots of synergies and opportunities to connect in with each other but being relatively new to this field, I’d love to know to what extent it happens in practice, regards Rachel

  3. Hi Naomi, there is a great energy around being a woman in business at the moment. I am so glad that I flew up to the Marie Claire Success Summit that you spoke at recently as I think the more that the media continues to talk about gender equality and the idea of success – the more we are galvanised to do something about it. I still can’t believe that it’s only been a few decades since Australian women had to sign employment contracts saying they would resign upon marriage. The shock of this has got me thinking about what role I have as a publisher in advocating a positive image of success. To paraphrase Liz Broderick put it – “how do we make financial success as desirable as a designer handbag?”

    In answer to Rachel’s comment above, I recently caught up with Sarah Liu who leads Little Girl, Big Dream and we talked about how simply by being in existence and catering to each of their target markets, networking groups collectively help encourage and support women in biz.

    Also I’m particularly stoked to hear of movements bringing men to the discussion. As the daughter of a father and father-in-law and wife to a husband who I think are some of the best feminists-in-action that I know of, it is nice to have more words and opportunity to share their contributions. And props to the old boys who are open to learning.

  4. What a great article Naomi! Thank you for your continued support of women entrepreneurs. There is definitely momentum building in Australia. We are not there yet but certainly heading in the right direction. I’m attempting to do my bit for the mums of Australia with a soon to be launched community for mums in business or looking to start a business. I am personally excited to see so many communities out there supporting women – it’s very encouraging.


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